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11th February 2020  Author: Paul Carton

Public Health England 2019-nCoV Diagnostic Test Now Used to Support WHO

Public Health England (PHE) have increased their 2019-nCoV testing capabilities to 1000 samples per day using the PHE designed diagnostics tool. From the moment China announced they were dealing with a novel coronavirus, the PHE began the design of the diagnostic kit. PHE and National Health Service (NHS) laboratory staff have been trained to use the diagnostic kit in other parts of the county including Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, which has helped increase the testing capacity of the health agencies.

When a clinician suspects novel coronavirus, they take samples from the nose, throat and deeper respiratory tract and send them for laboratory testing. Using the diagnostic test, scientists can look for evidence of the presence of any type of coronavirus and then hone in on specific genetic clues that identify the novel coronavirus associated with this outbreak.

If there is evidence of 2019-nCoV in a sample at one of these laboratories, that sample is then sent to the PHE Colindale labs for confirmation. 

In addition to processing samples from suspected cases in this country, PHE is now working as a reference laboratory for testing samples from countries that do not have assured testing capabilities.

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Date Published: 11th February 2020

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