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The UK has launched a new coronavirus diagnostic test to boost its testing capabilities as the outbreak in China continues.

As of 9 February, 2019-nCoV has killed 910 people, with the number of confirmed cases surging to 40,547 globally. In the UK, four people received disease diagnosis.

Developed by Public Health England (PHE), the test will equip 12 laboratories over the coming weeks to test coronavirus.

The move will enable testing of more than 1,000 people a day. Currently, only one lab in London can carry out the test, which can examine around 100 samples daily.

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Public Health England medical director Yvonne Doyle said: “Once China confirmed that they had identified a novel coronavirus, Public Health England was ready to test potential cases in this country.

“We have now trained scientists in labs across the UK to conduct the specialist test, ensuring that we are well prepared should we begin to see an increased number of cases across the country.”

The test allows researchers to identify any coronavirus strain, with samples taken from the nose, throat and lower respiratory tract.

Following this, researchers at PHE’s Colindale laboratories will subsequently conduct a confirmatory test.

Last week, US-based Co-Diagnostics launched a research use only (RUO) CoPrimer test for 2019-nCoV.

Novacyt’s molecular diagnostics division Primerdesign also introduced a molecular RUO test. Later, Novacyt applied for US Food and Drug Administration approval to allow nCoV test for clinical diagnostic testing in laboratories provisionally.