The ability to ramp up mass public testing for COVID-19 is seen as a crucial precondition for easing the lockdown, introduced by Boris Johnson on March 23. The Health Secretary Matt Hancock has previously stated that the UK will have the capacity to test 100,000 people per day by the end of April. However, analysis by the Daily Telegraph has shown that the target is very unlikely to get beyond 20,000 a day by the end of the month.
To date, the Government has managed just 15,994 tests a day.
Apacor Ltd said that it has all the accreditation it needs from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for its South Korean antigen tests, which are being used in Germany.
The Berkshire-based company claimed that it could deliver 150,000 of the tests overnight, which are made by Wells Bio.
However, the firm is being frustrated in its efforts by PHE, whose laboratory at Colindale has still not sent for a sample so that the test can be verified.
The Colindale laboratory has claimed it has no time to talk to the company until next week.
Apacor Ltd’s managing director expressed his frustration at the slow and cumbersome process, which is preventing the government from reaching its targets.
Anthony Bellm told the Daily Telegraph: “We have been waiting for Colindale for two weeks, and it’s frustrating because this supplier isn’t some small unknown company.
“This is the largest manufacturer of some types of tests in the world, and they can do one million tests a week.
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Alan Thornhill said: “I’ve made many calls, many emails, we’re ready to help.
“I understand this thing about you’ve got to offer a good test, and a bad test is worse than no test at all, but the tests we were planning to offer are exactly the same one that the NHS and Public Health England are using.
“It’s all very chaotic, and the truth is everybody wants to help, and they’re using all their ingenuity to help, their phone is on 24/7, but we’re just not being called.”
The CEO of Ancon Medical said his firm had developed a test that can give a positive result in just ten minutes, but again had received no response from health officials.
Wesley Baker said that had his firm been granted access to intensive care facilities when they first asked, it would by now be capable of testing the whole country.
He explained: “We have made multiple attempts to highlight the potential our technology has in providing effective screening and diagnosis at a rapid rate and on a large scale, with no response.