Delivery of 1m coronavirus tests per week left waiting for Public Health England order

One million coronavirus tests a week can be delivered by a British company, but Public Health England (PHE) has not taken up the offer, it has emerged, amid growing concerns that the Government’s 100,000-a-day target is now unreachable.

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Berkshire-based Apacor Ltd has already gained approval from the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to supply coronavirus antigen tests and said the first 150,000 could be delivered overnight.

The South Korean test, made by Wells Bio, is already being used by Germany, but the PHE laboratory at Colindale has still not sent for a sample so it can be verified and has said it cannot find time to talk to the company until next week.

ANCON Medical, based in Canterbury, said it could provide a test that gives a result in 10 minutes, yet had no response from the Government. Wesley Baker, its chief executive, said: “We are incredibly disappointed with the lack of any response from the Department of Health or PHE. If we had access to ICU facilities dealing with Covid-19 patients for one to four weeks to build a chemical breath profile, we could now have been discussing the mass screening of the population. “

The WHO has called on governments to “test, test, test” but Britain has lagged behind. Apacor said it could also get antibody tests from the US but time was short and it feared Britain would end “at the back of the queue”.

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