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  • Award to Support Diagnostic and Vaccine Development for Coronavirus
  • Joe Fitchett
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson is guided around Mologic's laboratory facilities by co-founder and chief scientific officer, Professor Paul Davies

Award to Support Diagnostic and Vaccine Development for Coronavirus

Mar 17 2020 Read 1309 Times

The Wellcome Trust and the Department for International Development (DFID) has awarded Mologic circa £1 million as part of the UK government’s £46 million international coronavirus (COVID-19) prevention and research funding package. It will be used by Mologic and global partners to develop a point-of-need diagnostic test for the virus and initiate its research for novel vaccine candidates.

Mologic will build on their experience developing a rapid test kit for Ebola, a project also jointly funded by UK aid and the Wellcome Trust, to create a new hand-held diagnostics device to detect COVID-19. This will allow health officials to test for the virus at home or in the community, providing results in 10 minutes, without the need for electricity or a laboratory.

The company is working in close partnership with the Institut Pasteur de Dakar to validate and manufacture the COVID-19 test at a new manufacturing site, DiaTropix, in Senegal. This will be the first time that a diagnostics kit created in the UK will be jointly manufactured in Africa, to ensure its immediate availability, to manage any potential outbreaks on the continent and further international spread. Global validation partners include; Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and St George’s, University of London in Europe; the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the University of Malaya in Asia; and for Latin America, Fiocruz.

Professor Paul Davis, Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Mologic, commented: “As seen with the COVID-19 outbreak, viruses can quickly transmit between populations, however, our knowledge to tackle this threat has also grown exponentially. For rapid epidemic preparedness and response, we need to develop a platform that is readily modified according to a novel pathogen, as we are demonstrating through our accelerated programmes for Ebola and COVID-19.”

Dr Joe Fitchett, Medical Director, Mologic, said: “The COVID-19 outbreak is at a critical juncture and to bring it to an end, we need next generation diagnostics for use at the point-of-need - at home or in the community, in limited and well-resourced settings. Rapid detection of the virus is important to stop its spread - we are pleased that the UK government has acknowledged this, supporting Mologic and the work of our partners to prevent further outbreaks internationally.”

Dr Amadou Sall, Director of Institut Pasteur de Dakar, said: “The COVID-19 epidemic highlights an unprecedented level of seeding of cases to vulnerable locations. We are proud of this partnership working with UK aid to support all countries to have responsive and resilient diagnostics to control COVID-19. With Mologic, we are already applying support from the UK government and Wellcome Trust to develop successful diagnostics tests to detect and combat the spread of Ebola, which is close to being controlled in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. DiaTropix’s remit is to responsively manufacture diagnostics for epidemics both for Africa and wherever they surface.”

Further details at www.mologic.co.uk

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