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Virus Hunter COVID test trialled in hospital

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A new, highly accurate COVID-19 test developed by Brunel, Surrey and Lancaster Universities and medical technology firm Vidiia is in use at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

Virus Hunter 6 (VH6) can test up to six samples simultaneously and is shown to be 99 per cent accurate in lab trials. Results take 20-30 minutes and it is already MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) approved, CE safety certified and backed by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

"The trial will further validate VH6,” said Brunel’s Professor Wamadeva Balachandran, who led the universities effort. “And not only in the developed world, but in less developed countries and remote areas because it doesn't need expensive support equipment and health workers need little training to use it”.

Every patient admitted to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary will have two nasal and oral swabs taken and the device send results to a mobile App to tell patients and doctors.

Dr Muhammad Munir at Lancaster University said “This will enhance UK community testing capacity, save costs and provide fast track diagnostics, resulting in early detection, preventing community spread, and ultimately saving lives.”

“Once the clinical validation testing of the devices has been completed, the device will pave the way for global distribution.”

Vidiia’s David Rimer said: “By gaining more results using NHS patient samples across three COVID wards, this will assist hugely in generating significantly more data from positive patients across a broader demographic.”

Roberto La Ragione, Professor of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology at the University of Surrey said: “This trial, together with the validation testing that is taking place on our campus, brings us potentially one step closer to the rolling out of this device on a national and global scale.

“From the beginning of this pandemic there has been a pressing need to develop, an accurate, inexpensive, rapid device that can diagnose COVID-19. Initial results from our testing with Virus Hunter 6 has shown that it has the potential to do just this.”