A new rapid lateral flow test designed to detect both flu and COVID at the same time has become the first to be approved in the UK to help save lives during the coming months as the country braces itself for an expected winter “twindemic.”
Test manufacturer SureScreen Diagnostics says it has now been given the green light to supply the products to hospitals and care homes after they were the first to pass the UK Health Security Agency’s Coronavirus Test Device Approvals (CTDA) process.
Just like COVID lateral flow tests, which became ubiquitous during the pandemic, the product analyses a shallow nasal sample which is collected by rotating a swab inside the nostril and then inserting it into a liquid.
Droplets of the liquid are then placed at the top of two formulated strips placed side by side in a special dual test cassette, which will then give users a positive or negative result for both COVID and influenza A and B, the two main types of flu that affect humans, in 10 minutes.
SureScreen, which is based in Derby, has already been supplying the tests to overseas markets and has trialled them successfully with a key development partner, Guy’s and St Thomas’s NHS Foundation Trust in London.
Although COVID cases appear to have stabilised, experts are still fearing a rise in cases over winter, with the UKHSA also bracing itself for a resurgence in flu infections capable of leading onto severe disease.
SureScreen’s tests are based on the same technology as its antigen COVID tests, which were supplied to the NHS during the pandemic and played a leading role in the country’s anti-COVID measures.
David Campbell, a director at the company, said: “Our new tests are already being used successfully overseas and by key hospital partners, so we’re delighted that we are now able to offer them to more hospitals and care homes across the country.
“The COVID pandemic demonstrated that rapid testing is a key tool to control the spread of viruses through the population and our LFT technology will return a positive test by the patient side in minutes, allowing care homes and hospitals to understand what they are dealing with quickly.
“Following our work in Australia during the flu season, we are ready to help in the UK during the coming months as flu season picks up.”