Avacta, a firm based in Yorkshire in the UK, has created a new super-fast lateral flow test that could be key to kick-starting the return of live events as the United Kingdom looks to reopen.
The five-minute COVID-19 test developed by Avacta is reportedly in its latest testing stage at the Government’s top-secret Porton Down lab.
According to the test’s developers, it is more accurate and faster than the US devices from biotech firm Innova currently in use. The milestone is expected to be announced in Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown plans tomorrow.
The Prime Minister has said that the Government wanted schools to be the first to reopen as they ease restrictions to prevent further disruption to children’s education.
He has suggested March 8 as the return date to classrooms. Mr. Johnson is also poised to allow some outdoor activities from April and some indoor meetings from May.
However, the live entertainment industry’s road to normality is predicted to be much longer due to the high risk of transmission in crowded spaces.
This way, the speedy test is set to have a key role in the reopening of schools, pubs, restaurants, clubs, and live events. It could also play a huge part in the return of theatres, sports stadiums, and cinemas.
While the Innova tests offer results in 30 minutes, the Avacta test is said to deliver results between five and ten minutes.
It is hoped that rapid testing would be used on admission to large events. Chief executive of UK Music Jamie Njoku-Goodwin said: “If approved and found to be effective, this test could be a game-changer in the effort to rescue British live music and save our summer.”
Nonetheless, earlier this week, general secretary of the Association of Festival Organisers Steve Heap stated that rapid testing would be “very difficult to operate at the gate of a festival.”
He said that asking for proof of a vaccine as an admission requirement would be a “clear and safe way” to come back to live venues.
Meanwhile, Ministers continued urging the Government to impose measures to revive bars, pubs, and restaurants to come back to normality quicker. Five-minute testing could hugely favor their plans.