UEA Medical School has designed a new COVID-19 test for the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH). As hundreds of people are set to be tested daily, it is hoped that this would aid Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s pledge of 100,000 tests a day. Dr Stuart Rushworth from Norwich Medical School detailed that the tests were designed by piecing existing technology together, hence why the development process took less than a month. 200 tests are set to be done in a day, with the potential to reach 500, and test results are returned to the hospital within four hours.
Previously, Chairman of the National Care Association, Nadra Ahmed, said some key workers had been told that their nearest testing centre was in Sheffield, a trip that would take more than five hours; Norfolk County Council later confirmed that the closest centre was Stansted, a trip of around three hours. More local testing bases have since begun operating from 27 April, at the Centrum Centre, near NNUH, the James Paget University Hospital at Gorleston, and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital at King’s Lynn.UEA Medical School is also in the process of developing an antibody test which will be able to show whether you’ve already had coronavirus. Additionally, they are collaborating with University College London on the INHALE trial to identify the cause of pneumonia and ensure quicker treatment. Sam Higginson, NNUH Chief Executive, commented that the new testing scheme “demonstrates the excellent partnership working between the NHS and scientific organisations on the Norwich Research Park”.