Ulster University Professors join COVID-19 antibody test consortium

  • Ulster University professors Tara Moore and Jim McLaughlin have joined the UK Government's Rapid Test Consortium, which is developing antibody tests for COVID-19.

    As the COVID-19 lockdown continues, people are now asking what the government's exit strategy is for lifting the lockdown safely. Any exit strategy will necessitate more data on who has developed immunity following an infection, and to do that the government will need a reliable antibody test that can be produced on a massive scale.

    A new UK Rapid Test Consortium (UK-RTC) consortium has been formed between CIGA Healthcare Limited, Omega, Abingdon Health Limited, BBI Solutions Limited and the University of Oxford to jointly develop and manufacture a COVID-19 Point of Care antibody test. The test will form one of five main pillars of the government's national testing strategy for COVID-19.

    The companies will work together over at least the next six months, putting aside competition and combining their test design and manufacturing expertise to design a test that can be produced at scale. The specifications for the test will then be shared among the consortium so that all of the companies can manufacture them.

    Ulster University Professors Tara Moore and Jim McLaughlin have joined the consortium through Northern Irish Firm CIGA Healthcare. Professor Cathy Gormley-Heenan, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Ulster University commented on the announcement:

    "As a university we have always pioneered research that improves the lives of our communities and societies and addresses global challenges. We are committed to using our knowledge, expertise and resources to fightback against Covid-19. Professors Moore and McLaughlin bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to this consortium which will aid the manufacture of important diagnostics in Northern Ireland."

    Source: Ulster University

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