UK Government has pledged a £500m funding package to support the clinical trials of quick-result Covid-19 tests and to scale up the testing capacity in the country.
The funding will back up the launch of a new, community-wide trial in Salford with the aim of evaluating the benefits of repeat population testing.
It will also be used to advance the existing trials of a saliva test and a rapid 20-minute test in Southampton and Hampshire.
To date, the UK has carried out over 16 million tests under its large-scale Covid-19 testing system. The government expects to take the programme to the next stage with its funding package for quick-result test trials and repeat population testing.
Additionally, the fund will be also used to expand the capacity for existing polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing in the UK.
Commenting on the development, UK Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Testing is a vital line of defence in combating this pandemic. Over the past six months, we have built almost from scratch one of the biggest testing systems in the world.
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“We need to use every new innovation at our disposal to expand the use of testing, and build the mass testing capability that can help suppress the virus and enable more of the things that make life worth living. We are backing innovative new tests that are fast, accurate and easier to use and will maximise the impact and scale of testing, helping us to get back to a more normal way of life.”
The government intends to expand and roll out the successful trials across the country.