Guidance

Help the government increase coronavirus (COVID-19) testing capacity

The government wants help from businesses to increase testing capacity in the UK as part of its strategy to protect the NHS and save lives.

On 2 April 2020, the government announced its new national testing strategy, including a commitment to deliver 100,000 tests a day by the end of the month, and many more beyond that. We want industry to help us in meeting that challenge.

Over time, we want to build a large diagnostic industry in this country able to tackle this challenge in the longer term. We’re encouraging the innovative minds of British academia and industry – large and small, across sectors – to dedicate their talents, ambitions and skills to that task.

This information is about helping the government produce more tests. Visit the NHS website for more ways to get tested.

What’s needed

In the short term, we must be focused on the challenge at hand, so we want to hear specifically from companies who can manufacture and supply new or existing types of coronavirus tests for antigens or antibodies.

These must meet the requirement set out by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). MHRA has published guidance on antibody tests.

We have teams of experts evaluating all the offers received. To ensure that their time is used most effectively, please use the forms below, which ensure your offers meet our requirements and can be directed to the right expert group. We will contact you as quickly as possible if your support is needed.

Closed opportunities

The following calls for direct offers have now closed:

  • the provision of laboratory capacity
  • the provision of consumables reagents and equipment

Further procurement opportunities that support the UK testing strategy set out by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, can be found on contracts finder.

How to help

Contact

For enquiries about the supply of antigen test kits email covid19_innovation@dhsc.gov.uk.

For enquiries about the supply of antibody test kits email antibody@dhsc.gov.uk.

Published 8 April 2020
Last updated 23 December 2020 + show all updates
  1. Removed consumables and equipment for coronavirus testing from the 'What's needed' section.

  2. Updated section 'closed opportunities'. The call for direct offers to provide laboratory capacity has now closed.

  3. In 'Contact' section, updated email address and removed phone numbers.

  4. Under further information, replaced the link 'How commercially available coronavirus (COVID-19) diagnostics products are being evaluated' with a link to 'Assessment and procurement of coronavirus (COVID-19) tests'.

  5. Updated to say that the call for proposals to supply end-to-end serology testing has now closed. In addition, a link to guidance on antibody tests has been added to the 'What's needed' section.

  6. The attachment 'serology end-to-end guidance' has been added to the 4th bullet point in the 'What's needed' section.

  7. Added a request and specification to the 'What's needed' section. The request is for groups of organisations that can deliver a high throughput, end-to-end process that integrates home-based blood sampling with lab processing, using an ELISA or equivalent antibody test at a specificity >98% and sensitivity >95%.

  8. Added link to provide new testing methods in 4 key areas.

  9. Added link to guidance on the criteria laboratories need to meet to partner with a local NHS trust.

  10. Added link to MHRA test specification.

  11. First published.