Coronavirus (COVID-19) Image by Philip Steury AdobeStock_332281171.jpg

Innovate UK grants £50,000 funding to the project

Life Science Group Ltd (LSG) and the University of Bedfordshire have received £50,000 in funding from Innovate UK to complete a research project to improve COVID-19 testing.

This follows a national call from Innovate UK to develop innovative methodologies to help combat COVID-19.

LSG and the University are to develop a testing method for COVID-19 that inactivates the virus immediately after the swab sample is taken from patients.

This will stop the samples from being infectious. Therefore reducing the risk to workers from when the sample is taken, through transport, to testing in laboratories.

In turn, the University said that this will increase the speed of which tests can be done, as more localised facilities will be able to run test samples.

Dr Robin Maytum Image University of Bedfordshire

Dr Robin Maytum, principal lecturer in Biomedical Science at the University, will provide the scientific lead on the £50,000 collaborative research project. He said:

“The development and validation of a Viral Inactivation Buffer is a key aim in improving testing.

“It should eliminate the risks in handling otherwise potentially infectious samples and reduce the number of false negatives in current testing.”

Early validation to determine the effectiveness of the initial formulation has been completed in collaboration with Public Heath England (PHE).

This six-month project will develop the formulation to ensure that the Viral Inactivation Buffer is safe to use. It will also validate the use of the product with the viral testing procedures currently in use.

The project will also investigate the ability of the buffer to stabilise samples and produce more consistent testing results.

Jenny Murray, managing director of Life Science Group, said:

“We have been working with PHE since early April to supply tubes for sample collection and this next step will make a huge and immediate difference to how testing for COVID-19 is handled in this country and elsewhere. The entire Team at LSG is delighted that our work is making a difference.”

The University said that research development is key to the success in monitoring and controlling COVID-19 infection throughout communities.