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Ireland-UK, EIT Health Ireland-UK

Imperial College London receives major funding in Rapid Response Call

11th May 2020

A team led by Imperial College London will receive support and over €500,000 from EIT Health as part of the COVID Rapid Response Call

The team at Imperial, alongside partners from Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Abingdon Health, will develop a rapid and ultrasensitive point-of-care diagnostic test for the virus.

The consortium will develop the test, ‘QwikZyme’, over the next six months. The test is designed to be able to detect ultra-low concentrations of the virus itself, with the aim of earlier diagnosis – and results within an hour.

QwikZyme lead, Professor Molly Stevens, said: “SARS-CoV-2 is an unprecedented challenge on healthcare systems worldwide. Since last December, the virus has spread all around the world in a few months affecting all continents. The WHO is advocating the need to “test, test, test” to control the spread of the virus. We are developing a point of care device that builds on our expertise in ultrasensitive diagnostic technologies to enable rapid ultrasensitive early virus detection. Our team has direct collaborations with virologists, clinicians, contract manufacturers, the Imperial NHS Trust and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

“We are aligned to the WHO REASSURED guidelines for point-of-care testing of infectious diseases (Real-time connectivity, Ease of specimen collection, Affordable, Sensitive, Specific, User-friendly, Rapid & Robust, Equipment-free, Delivered).”

EIT Health has announced funds of over six million euros in the fight against COVID-19, which will be dedicated to 14 specially selected health innovation projects across Europe. The projects will focus on immediate and impactful solutions that can be found to arm health services with better tools in navigating the pandemic.

In our ‘Rapid Response’ initiative, EIT Health evaluated existing budget provisions for planned projects in 2020 and were able to reallocate funds to support promising solutions that may assist in the fight against COVID-19. The 14 projects selected cover biotechnology, diagnostics, digital health and medtech, and will be run by 36 partners. The projects will work directly with healthcare services as part of the consortia so that the solutions can be built in line with clinical needs and implemented without delay.

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