As of this morning – Thursday April 9 – the current recorded case count for COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the UK has hit 60,733 with 7,097 deaths.

Avacta and Cytiva (formerly known as GE Healthcare Life Sciences) have formed a collaboration to develop and manufacture an Affimer-based point-of-care rapid test intended for screening of large populations to diagnose COVID-19 infection.

Rapid tests able to quickly diagnose COVID-19 at point-of-care will assist in limiting and tracking infections, according to the World Health Organisation, particularly as existing tests are not suitable for screening large numbers of people.

“Importantly the test will indicate if a person has the virus now, whether they are showing symptoms or not, and will do so in minutes, in-situ with no need for laboratory equipment,” said Dr Alastair Smith, chief executive of Avacta.

Avacta is already generating Affimer reagents that detect the COVID-19 virus and together with Cytiva will develop and manufacture a test capable of diagnosing the infection in minutes using a respiratory sample such as saliva.

Cytiva will transfer this diagnostic assay onto its proprietary point-of-care test strip platform and both companies, and the collaboration will then work to complete analytical and clinical validation of the test “as quickly as possible”.

Avacta will own the intellectual property relating to the COVID-19 Affimer-reagents and will retain all the commercial rights to future products.

Further commercial details were not disclosed.


Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.


Maintain at least two metres (six feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.


Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)