British-made lateral flow test are banned in the UK, despite being approved for use in Europe

It has been claimed that the Government relies on Chinese suppliers to supply lateral flow testing equipment because many British manufacturers have not been cleared for use in the UK.

  • British manufacturers are reportedly frustrated by strict UK new tests
  • Only a single British company, SureScreen, is authorized to provide lateral flow testing to the UK
  • Two Chinese companies are relied upon by the government to fulfil its testing requirements

Reports suggest that despite millions of pounds being invested to establish a leading testing program in the UK, only one British manufacturer produced a quick test that met UK standards.

According to the Sunday Times, many British companies are disappointed that their European tests have not been approved for use in the UK.

According to the newspaper, Omega Diagnostics (based in Stirling) and Global Access Diagnostics (based in Bedford), have made testing kits that didn’t meet regulations and therefore, no orders have been placed with the Government.

According to the Sunday Times, both companies received government funding in March 2021 after they signed contracts. It is believed that Omega is asking for £2.5million in repayment from the Government.

New regulations introduced in November have caused delays in approval. These new regulations require that tests be taken in the UK in order to pass the Coronavirus Test Device Approvals.

Professor of Medicine at Oxford University, Tim Peto serves on the committee that reviews Porton Down’s testing assessments.

According to him, the Times reported that some English manufacturers were unhappy with the failure of their kits and that some believe they were unfairly tested. It’s not clear why they believe it was unfair, other than the fact that it came back negative.

Because they cannot get certified for use in the United Kingdom, British-made tests are being sold overseas.

According to the Times, the main suppliers of NHS lateral flows tests are Chinese brands Orient Gene, made in Zhejiang Orient Gene Biotech and FlowFlex made by Acon Biotech. The Times reports that both companies have more experience in producing lateral flow testing kits at large scales than British companies.

This comes just a few months after the Government was criticized for the widespread shortage of test kits during the Christmas period.

People struggled to obtain kits despite ministers telling their families to test before they socialized over Christmas and New Year.

While home testing was frequently stopped by the Government’s website, walk-in appointments for PCR tests were often booked.

Pharmacists urged the Government to increase its stock as they claimed they were being forced by a shortage of stock to turn away customers empty-handed.

The UK Health Security Agency responded to the backlash by claiming that it had increased its ability to deliver 900,000.00 testing kits per day.

Sir Roger Gale (Conservative MP for North Thanet) said that he was told by the Health Secretary about a “world shortage” of testing supplies.

MailOnline heard from him last week that it was originally a delivery issue, but now it is a supply-and-delivery problem.

“[Sajid Javid] was very open and direct about it. He stated that there is a shortage of lateral flow testing in the world.

North Thanet MP added that the British company producing them had increased its production by 4x and now produces 20 million per week, instead of five million. The Brits are buying them all, and any other items we can find, but we are also competing on a global market.

Derby-based SureScreen Diagnostics, which was officially announced in September, is the only British approved supplier of lateral flow devices.

The Government praised the company, stating that it had created more jobs than 370 in the Midlands and that it can produce 7 million tests per week. Plans are to increase this number to 14million by December.

According to the UKHSA, “In building the largest UK diagnostic industry, we have produced 400 million tests since the outbreak of the pandemic. We played a crucial role in fighting the spread of Covid-19.”

The expertise of the ‘NHS Test and Trace team has been drawn from both the private and public sectors. All contracts are awarded in accordance with transparency guidelines and procurement regulations.

“SureScreen is a British manufacturer that has promised to supply 20 million lateral flow test kits.”

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