Lab-on-a-chip startup gets Covid-19 test boost

August 07, 2020 //By Nick Flaherty
Lab-on-a-chip startup NudgeDNA in the UK is to supply 5000 of its Covid-19 test systems to hospitals
Lab-on-a-chip startup NudgeDNA in the UK is to supply 5000 of its Covid-19 test systems to hospitals in a repeat of the recent ventilator strategy

A UK startup that has developed a lab-on-a-chip system for DNA analysis has seen a boost from the UK government in a deal for Covid-19 test systems.

NudgeDNA was founded by Prof Chris Toumazou (above), who also founded low power wireless medical sensor company Toumaz Technologies in 2000 and DNA Electronics in 2001, with the technology coming to market back in 2012: REAL TIME DNA ANALYSIS COMES TO THE HIGH STREET

This is one of two startups with high profile contracts, but taking the same approach as the ventilator challenge ( VENTILATOR CHALLENGE FINISHES ) the UK government is also looking to purchase other Covid-19 test systems.

The 'NudgeBx' analyser from NudgeDNA uses a lab-on-chip design to detect Covid-19 infections within 90 minutes as well as other flu infections. The UK government said it would roll out 5000 test machines from September for hospitals. These can handle 15 tests a day, and will provide 5.8 million tests in the coming months.

Back in April the company said it had a contract for 10,000 cartridges from the Department of Health and Social Care to roll out to clinical sites for testing. These are currently at eight London hospitals, and the company last week received medical approval following the trials. However data on large scale effectiveness is not yet public. 

Another UK startup has also been contracted to supply tests from next week. 450,000 90-minute LamPORE swab tests will also be available across adult care setting and laboratories, supplied by Oxford Nanopore. These use a traditional reagent-based approach for testing but use a UV light and sensor for analysis. The desktop GridION machine can process up to 15,000 tests a day, while the palm-sized MinION can process up to 2,000 tests a day for deployment in ‘pop-up’ lab.

“We’re using the most innovative technologies available to tackle coronavirus. Millions of new rapid coronavirus tests will provide on-the-spot results


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