As the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK surge past 200, the government has awarded Mologic £1 million to develop a rapid diagnostic test for the novel coronavirus.
The funding comes from research charity, the Wellcome Trust, and the Department of International Development (DFID) as part of the government’s £46 million international Covid-19 prevention and research funding packaging.
Mologic will use the funding alongside its global partners to develop a point-of-need diagnostic test for the virus, in addition to supporting it to initiate research for novel vaccine candidates.
Mologic will build on its experience developing a rapid test kit for Ebola, which was also jointly funded by UK aid and the Wellcome Trust, to create a new hand-held diagnostics device to detect Covid-19.
This will allow health officials to test for the virus at home or in the community, providing results in 10 minutes, without the need for electricity or a laboratory.
Alongside their work on diagnostics, UK aid is also supporting Mologic in the development of a Covid-19 vaccine candidate for further evaluation.
The company is working in close partnership with the Institut Pasteur de Dakar to validate and manufacture the test at a new manufacturing site, DiaTropix, in Senegal.
This will be the first time that a diagnostics kit created in the UK will be jointly manufactured in Africa, to ensure its immediate availability, to manage any potential outbreaks on the continent, and further international spread.
“For rapid epidemic preparedness and response, we need to develop a platform that is readily modified according to a novel pathogen, as we are demonstrating through our accelerated programmes for Ebola and Covid-19,” said Professor Paul Davis, co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Mologic.
Global validation partners include: Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and St George’s, University of London in Europe; the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the University of Malaya in Asia; and for Latin America, Fiocruz.