Mologic Ltd, a leading developer of lateral flow and rapid diagnostic technologies, today announced that it has been awarded circa £1 million as part of the UK government’s £46 million international coronavirus (COVID-19) prevention and research funding package. The funding will be used by Mologic and global partners, to develop a point-of-need diagnostic test for the virus, in addition to supporting the Company to initiate research for novel vaccine candidates.
Mologic will build on their experience developing a rapid test kit for Ebola, which was jointly funded by UK aid and the Wellcome Trust, to create a new hand-held diagnostics device to detect COVID-19. This will allow health officials to test for the virus at home or in the community, providing results in 10 minutes, without the need for electricity or a laboratory. Rapid identification of the virus enables quicker quarantine and access to care, to support global efforts in preventing further spread – especially in vulnerable countries that have limited specialist facilities. Alongside their work on diagnostics, UK aid is also supporting Mologic in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate for further evaluation.
The company is working in close partnership with the Institut Pasteur de Dakar to validate and manufacture the COVID-19 test at a new manufacturing site, DiaTropix, in Senegal. This will be the first time that a diagnostics kit created in the UK will be jointly manufactured in Africa, to ensure its immediate availability, to manage any potential outbreaks on the continent, and further international spread. Global validation partners include; Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and St George’s, University of London in Europe; the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the University of Malaya in Asia; and for Latin America, Fiocruz.
“The COVID-19 epidemic highlights an unprecedented level of seeding of cases to vulnerable locations. We are proud of this partnership working with UK aid to support all countries to have responsive and resilient diagnostics to control COVID-19,” said Dr Amadou Sall, director of Institut Pasteur de Dakar. “With Mologic, we are already applying support from the UK government and Wellcome Trust to develop successful diagnostics tests to detect and combat the spread of Ebola, which is close to being controlled in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. DiaTropix’s remit is to responsively manufacture diagnostics for epidemics both for Africa and wherever they surface.”