Government places £161m order for 5.8 million DnaNudge COVID-19 tests

The government has announced it has placed a £161 million order for 5.8 million COVID-19 test kits to be used across the NHS from September.

The order will see DnaNudge’s lab-free, 90-minute test, rolled out nationally in urgent patient care and elective surgery settings, with further deployments in out-of-hospital settings.

Trials comparing COVID Nudge against several NHS laboratory results indicated 98% sensitivity and 100% specificity.

The company is a startup from Imperial College London and has adapted the test from a solution launched last year to analyse and map users’ genetic profile to key nutrition-related health traits such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension and cholesterol, enabling customers to be “nudged” by their DNA towards healthier eating.

The technology was adapted in April and began an initial deployment of the COVID Nudge test in eight London hospitals:

  • St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington
  • Charing Cross Hospital
  • West Middlesex University Hospital
  • Chelsea and Westminster Hospital
  • Royal Hospital Chelsea
  • Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Maternity Hospital
  • the Renal Transplant Centre at Hammersmith Hospital
  • the Tower Hamlets Centre for Mental Health at Mile End Hospital

From September, 5,000 DNA machines, supplied by DnaNudge, will help provide 5.8 million tests in the coming months. The machines are located in cancer wards, A&E and maternity wards to protect those most at risk.

The technology builds on a series of innovations developed by Professor Christofer Toumazou and his team at Imperial College London’s Department of Electrical Engineering and the Institute of Biomedical Engineering, originally with other applications in mind.

Professor Chris Toumazou FRS, CEO and co-founder of DnaNudge, said: “This order demonstrates the value of DnaNudge’s rapid, lab-free testing capability, and its vital importance in terms of the UK government’s COVID-19 public health strategy.”

“The miniaturised Lab in a Cartridge invention of DnaNudge and the test’s fast, direct from sample swab-to-result innovation with no laboratory, no manual steps or pipettes are the reasons why COVID Nudge is being adopted as a decentralised, near-patient PCR test in many patient care areas in and out of hospitals.”

Dr Gary Davies, Hospital Medical Director of Chelsea and Westminster Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are very excited to be working with DnaNudge, which is a genuine game changer and at the forefront of testing innovation.”

“The Trust is pioneering the decentralisation of rapid and accurate point-of-need testing, and DnaNudge is a critical component of that strategy. We are already using COVID Nudge in areas such as A&E, elective surgery and paediatrics, where speed of testing has the most impact for patients. The opportunity to have this highly accurate test – without the need for a laboratory – is helping us to provide the highest quality care for our patients and support for our staff, and offers the best chance of tackling the biggest challenge that the NHS has ever faced, particularly now as we look ahead to the winter flu season.”