Posted on April 2020 By Jamie Southwell
It was during last night's press conference that Health Secretary Matt Hancock informed us the government would push our coronavirus testing capabilities to 100,000 per day by April, and how he would be achieving this through his five point plan.
The "five pillar" strategy involved combing different efforts from various companies such as major pharmaceuticals and private labs, who would all be using an assortment of swab tests to establish if someone has the virus, and antibody blood tests to garner whether a person has built up an immunity to it.
We broke down the five major points which he will be using to achieve this figure of 100,000:
A massive increase of swab testing in PHE labs and NHS Hospitals for those who require it the most and critical workers such as healthcare frontliners. After announcing earlier this week that the '85% of all test must be reserved for patients' rule is officially scrapped, Matt Hancock made it very clear last night these new swab tests would be adequately shared among those prioritised.
The government will be working with "commercial partners", such as universities and private businesses, to deliver a wider ground for testing capacities through even more swab tests. This, among everything else, will contribute a large amount to the promise of 25,000 NHS workers being tested daily by the end of the month.
New blood antibody testing to determine if those who have contracted it before have been able to build up high levels of immunity to COVID-19. Before contracting the virus himself the British Prime Minister deemed these tests a "game changer" and said they are vital in being able to tell if people are safe to return to work, but we were told last night that validation for accuracy of these tests is, and will continue to be, the key focus before releasing them.
Surveillance will be conducted to learn more on the spread of the disease, and further us to developing new treatments. Mr Hancock explained the importance of it by saying "Robust population surveillance programmes are essential for understanding the rate of infection and how the virus is spreading across the country,".
The final step in the five point plan set in place last night was to build an "at-scale" British diagnostics industry, involving pharmaceutical conglomerates such AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline, who will be working with smaller companies.
All of these efforts will go towards ensuring key workers and those most at risk will have the ability to get tested when they need it, and that mass public testing will only start to take place once those concentrated on have been satisfied.
The virus, which has hit over 1 million cases globally, continues to double every three to four days within Britain and as it stands, we're currently the 8th country with the highest number coronavirus cases in the world, having a total 33,718 of those with the virus, and 2,921 people who have died so far.
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