Digital lateral flow test that produces Covid certificate in minutes wins certification

·2 min read
Medical device
Medical device

A digital lateral flow test that sends results to health authorities via a smartphone app is the first to receive certification, its British backers have claimed.

The test reads the result using artificial intelligence and sends the findings directly to a body such as Public Health England. The user is emailed a Covid certificate within minutes.

It was developed by Excalibur Healthcare Services, founded by serial entrepreneur Sir Chris Evans, and Sensyne Health, a listed company founded and run by Lord Drayson, the former Labour Party politician.

Sensyne's technology, called MagnifEye, is embedded into the app and can read Excalibur's lateral flow test result through a smartphone camera.

MagnifEye is already being used as part of the Department of Health & Social Care’s Covid testing programme in the NHS and has read and recorded more than a million lateral flow tests.

Sir Chris said the new test would "revolutionise Covid self-testing and diagnostics for people in the UK, Europe and worldwide".

“Until now, we have been able to supply tests on their own but the certification for the complete system including the app has taken the diagnostic capability to a new level," he said.

Excalibur was incorporated in January 2020, according to filings on Companies House, as the Covid pandemic began to spread around the world.

The digital test has been certified for use in the UK and Europe by what is called a “notifiable body”, an organisation tasked by governments with assessing products before they go on sale.

It was developed in Cambridge, but the tests are manufactured in China. They cost about £20 each.

Sensyne has generated £5.1m in sales from its licencing agreement with Excalibur, allowing the company to use MagnifEye in the lateral flow test.

Excalibur would not reveal its sales figures, but said several million of its lateral flow tests have been shipped in the UK and internationally.

Sir Chris said there was a big market opportunity for the new digital test outside of foreign travel testing, such as testing staff in staff large offices.

The company expects to sell tens of thousands of digital tests in the next few months alone, a spokesman for Excalibur said.

“This is a major scientific achievement and, we believe, a world first in developing a regulated software application using AI to enhance the accuracy of lateral flow testing and reporting," said Lord Drayson.

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