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. There’s different information for getting tested for coronavirus.

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:

  • consumables and equipment for coronavirus testing, in particular test kits (such as nose and throat swabs, transport media and vials) and RNA extraction lab consumables (such as reagents, plates and pipette tips)
  • 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 also want to hear from:

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 call for proposals to supply end-to-end serology testing has now closed. Proposals are being reviewed against the serology end-to-end technical specification (PDF, 48.8KB, 2 pages).

How to help

You can also help provide other forms of support, including personal protective equipment (PPE) for testing laboratories.

Contact

Further information

Published 8 April 2020
Last updated 4 June 2020 + show all updates
  1. 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'.

  2. 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.

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

  4. 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%.

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

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

  7. Added link to MHRA test specification.

  8. First published.