Around 200 jobs will be created in Clackmannanshire after a Wee County firm secured a contact with the UK Government to supply rapid lateral flow tests in the battle against coronavirus.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has agreed contracts with Alva-headquartered Omega Diagnostics as well as Bedfordshire-based Global Access Diagnostics to provide manufacturing capacity for up to 200 million of the antigen tests.
The tests can detect positive cases in under 30 minutes, allowing those affected to self-isolate immediately to help break the chain of transmission.
Around one in three people who have coronavirus do not show symptoms, so regular rapid testing is essential to find those positive cases to stem the spread of the deadly virus.
The Government said the lateral flow tests are helping children to go back to school, are keeping healthcare staff safe, and are making sure businesses can reopen.
Including symptomatic and asymptomatic testing programmes, as of Monday the Government is on track to surpass 100 million tests carried out in the UK.
The contracts are expected to create around 470 additional jobs – with around 200 of those in Alva.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “This new partnership will help supply essential rapid lateral flow tests to people all over the UK – showing the pivotal role that Scottish expertise is playing in our efforts to stop the spread of the virus.
“Working together as one UK, the pandemic response has shown the strength of our Union and the power of our united efforts, and as we build back better, we will continue to champion innovation and industry across all parts of the United Kingdom.”
Colin King, CEO of Omega Diagnostics Group, said the firm was “delighted” to deploy its state-of-the-art production facilities in support of the country’s Covid-19 testing programme.
He added: “We particularly welcome the Government’s assistance to secure the specialist machinery needed to dramatically increase the scale of our manufacturing capacity which has allowed us to ensure a ready supply of high quality, reliable British-made rapid lateral flow tests.
“Rapid lateral flow tests are an essential tool for identifying Covid-19 cases where people have no visible symptoms, but could still be infectious and continue to spread the virus.
“We are very proud to be playing our part in the nation’s effort to control the spread of coronavirus by using our production facilities in Scotland.”
STV News is now on WhatsApp
Get all the latest news from around the countryFollow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp
Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country