A £1.3m multicentre national programme of research has launched in the UK, evaluating how new diagnostic tests for Covid-19 perform in different healthcare settings.

Determining who has been infected with Covid-19 is key in responding to the pandemic, and brand-new diagnostic tests have cropped up across the life sciences industry. However, many of these tests have yet to be thoroughly evaluated in the settings where they’re likely to be used.

The Covid-19 National DiagnOstic Research and Evaluation Platform (CONDOR) – funded by the National Institute for Health Research, UK Research and Innovation, Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation – will create a single national route for evaluating new diagnostic tests in hospitals and community healthcare settings.

The research team will work with the government and its advisors to identify which new commercially developed tests could be most valuable to the NHS. The effectiveness of the tests will then be evaluated in a number of different health and care settings, from emergency departments to care homes.

CONDOR will follow up with patients who test positive, administering an antibody test. Should they test positive for antibodies, they will then be monitored to find out whether they develop new infections, to assess whether people with antibodies are immune to reinfection and how long this immunity period might last.