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September 6, 2021

Coronavirus company news summary – UK CMA opens formal investigation into PCR travel test provider – Researchers use home blood collection device for Covid-19 antibody test

By Chloe Kent

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK has opened a formal investigation into Covid-19 travel PCR test provider Expert Medicals. The move follows several complaints alleging that the company failed to provide tests and results within the stipulated timeframes necessary to permit customers’ travel plans and did not respond to complaints. Expert Medicals also allegedly refused to pay refunds. The government has since removed the name of the company from the list of approved travel testing providers. Separately, CMA has warned 19 other test providers for misleading practices regarding pricing information.

A team of researchers at Japan’s RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter Science (CEMS) has developed a diagnostic system that can determine the number of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies needed to protect people from Covid-19. The system immobilises several key SARS-CoV-2 proteins to facilitate the detection of antibodies and is expected to help in assessing the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccines.

Researchers from the University of Washington have used a novel blood collection device to measure SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. The Tasso-SST kit uses a gentle vacuum to draw blood from capillaries under the skin, rather than from the vein through a needle. The researchers found no significant differences in antibody levels in blood samples from the device versus standard techniques, indicating that the device may help reduce the need for visiting clinics for such tests.

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