By World Healthcare Journal-
Demand from UK businesses for Covid-19 lateral flow antigen testing has soared ahead of the new year.
The test, which works in a similar fashion to a pregnancy test, can detect the presence of Covid-19 within just 15 minutes, giving employers a way to identify contagious staff before they risk passing it on to colleagues.
A lateral flow antigen test can detect an active case of Covid-19 after the onset of symptoms, or from 14 days after initial exposure to the virus.
It works by identifying specific proteins, known as antigens, which are situated on the cell membranes of the virus.
David Thomas, Managing Director of AlphaBiolabs, a company who supply Lateral Flow tests, said the kit has become the company's best-selling Covid-19 test as businesses seek to screen their staff without having to wait for the results to become available following laboratory analysis.
The individually packaged kit, which can only be sold for professional or business use, is outselling AlphaBiolabs' laboratory-tested PCR coronavirus test by a factor of more than 10 to one.
David said sales of the lateral flow antigen kit during November and December combined were more than 70 per cent higher than those in September and October, and orders for January are rocketing as employers gear up for a fresh surge in Covid-19 testing programmes when staff return to work after the festive period.
The rapid lateral flow antigen test is carried out on-site by taking samples from the nose and throat. The result is then displayed via a portable screening cassette.
"Businesses across the UK are clearly trying to manage and navigate their operations in a proactive manner,” says David.
"Orders for January are extremely high, amid concerns of a third wave of the virus in the new year as a result of people socialising with family and friends at Christmas. ”
"Employers are concerned that staff may have been exposed to the virus and could be about to bring a Covid viral infection into the workplace, and they are looking at effective testing programmes to protect their businesses and workforce."
David said demand for the AlphaBiolabs lateral flow Covid-19 screening kits are highest in industries where people cannot work from home and are in contact with others in the workplace, such as manufacturing, engineering, energy, warehousing, transport, infrastructure, construction, film and TV production.
"There is a real commitment among employers to keep Covid-19 out of the workplace as much as possible," he added.
"The PCR, lab-based test is classed as the gold standard in Covid-19 testing, but it is more expensive to implement than the rapid antigen test and the results take longer to come through. ”
"We didn't expect demand for the lateral flow screening kit to outstrip the PCR test by over 10 to one but, when you consider the high performance, reduced cost and added convenience of an instant result, it is probably not too surprising amid the general desire for business continuity."
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