The Devon company at the forefront of Covid-19 testing

In May this year, the MHRA instructed laboratories supplying COVID-19 Finger-prick Antibody tests to pause testing whilst further validation tests were carried out on the method. Whilst Blue Horizon agreed to pause testing, this caused problems for many home users who could not readily find a nurse to take blood with a venous blood draw, or were unwilling to risk the extra social contact this would have entailed.

Blue Horizon are now able to offer a new quantitative finger-prick test, representing a premium SARS-CoV-2 assay. This tests the strength of immune reaction of both IgG and IgM antibodies, giving each a numeric value and was developed by Professor Sebastian Johnston, Dr Michael Edwards and their team at Virtus Respiratory Research Ltd who have not only verified the accuracy of finger-prick capillary vs venous samples to be 100% but have also acquired CE marking for their kit and their test as a whole, thereby following the relevant guidance.

“Whilst we had no doubt about the accuracy of finger-prick blood samples before, our partnership with Virtus enables us to offer finger-prick coronavirus antibody testing again”. Says Dr Johnson of Blue Horizon Blood Tests, “This enables us to supply home and workplace users with COVID-19 Antibody test kits without the requirement of a nurse to acquire the sample.”

Professor Johnston, of Virtus, states “This COVID-19 test uses the S1 Spike Protein instead of the more widely used nucleoprotein – we would therefore expect 10-15% of users that may have tested negative on a nucleoprotein based test to test positive on ours”. He goes on to say that “because it tests both IgG and IgM antibodies we would expect a significant proportion of people who might or did test negative on an IgG only test to be IgM positive on this test – any antibody positive test to this virus is a sign of a memory immune response to the virus, which is bound to be a good thing”. – indeed it is Professor Sebastian Johnston’s firm belief, based on previous literature with seasonal coronavirus infections and his 30+ years of experience researching respiratory virus infections, that presence of a memory immune response to this virus is clear evidence of a significant degree of protection from the virus on future exposure.

The test is available now through Blue Horizon blood tests Covid-19 Finger-prick antibody test for home use

COVID-19 Coronavirus IgG & IgM ANTIBODY Home Test kit – Finger-Prick

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Covid 19 IgG Antibody Testing Available to the Public

Last week, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) asked all private laboratories to pause offering  Covid 19 IgG antibody testing using self-collect finger-prick samples, however, as Paul Harris, Charge Nurse from Blue Horizon Blood Tests explains, “it is still possible to be privately tested for COVID-19“We recognise that government agencies have to ensure the highest standards are being set and maintained. We shall not be offering self-collect finger-prick tests for COVID-19 until the MRHA gives the industry the all clear.
However, we are assured the tests run through our partner laboratory prior to this imposed pause in proceedings were valid. The method used to verify accuracy was by having volunteers donate venous samples and capillary samples (ie finger-prick) at the same time. They tested both these samples and compared the results and found them to be almost exactly the same from a clinical/statistical point of view. This is a well recognised practice in laboratories and is known as validation – in essence ensuring that the test being offered is as accurate as claimed.
This has been forwarded to the MHRA and are confident in the outcome.While the approach is under review, we are offering the same validated IgG test on samples collected from a vein – and have adjusted our test kits accordingly. Anyone trained in phlebotomy (blood taking) can use our Vacutainer Covid-19 test kits to take a venous blood sample which will be sent into our partner laboratory for analysis using an immunoassay kit from a PHE approved manufacturer.

More details are available at www.bluehorizonbloodtests.co.uk/covid-19

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American Addiction Centers Leads the Addiction Treatment Industry as it Launches Onsite COVID-19 Testing at all of its Treatment Centers


BRENTWOOD, Tenn., April 22, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — American Addiction Centers (AAC) is leading the way in the addiction treatment industry by now testing each patient admitted to any one of its treatment centers for COVID-19. The new safety protocol is significant news for patients seeking addiction treatment in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Those struggling with addiction need those services now,” said Andrew McWilliams, AAC CEO. “We don’t need to let COVID-19 be a barrier to treatment. Last year alone, 67,000 people died from drug overdoses in the U.S. That’s almost 200 people per day dying from this deadly disease. In addition, an estimated 88,000 people die annually from alcohol-related causes.”

Tests will also be available to current patients and staff exhibiting symptoms, in accordance with guidelines from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. AAC’s lab, Addiction Labs, worked tirelessly to piece together all the necessary elements to conduct the testing with fast turnarounds of 48 hours or less.

“The safety of our patients and staff is paramount and we were not going to take ‘no’ for an answer,” said Shannon Myers, Addiction Labs supervisor. “And with that came hundreds, if not thousands, of phone calls with vendors.”

The lab also went beyond standard testing protocols to ensure an accuracy rate of 95% or higher.

“The accuracy of the test is extremely important to us because our clients are all in the facility together with the staff for extended periods of time,” said Joe Olechowski, Addiction Labs genetics research, and development supervisor. “Providing a false negative report to a positive patient has the potential to affect the entire facility. Our test looks at three gene targets where other tests may only look at one gene target, which means the potential for false negatives is far higher.”

AAC is one of a few treatment providers to have an in-house lab and the capability to offer COVID-19 testing for its patients. Addiction Labs has the capacity to run 2,400 tests a day.

“We do know that behavioral health services, from a COVID-19 testing perspective, is very underserved,” said McWilliams. “Our goal is to utilize the testing we’ve developed to not only serve our patients but to open it up to the broader behavioral health community at large.”

To learn more about AAC’s COVID-19 testing and patient safety plan, visit https://americanaddictioncenters.org/covid-19-update

About American Addiction Centers
American Addiction Centers (OTC: AACH) is a leading provider of inpatient and outpatient substance abuse treatment services. We treat clients who are struggling with drug addiction, alcohol addiction, and co-occurring mental/behavioral health issues. We currently operate substance abuse treatment facilities located throughout the United States. These facilities are focused on delivering effective clinical care and treatment solutions. For more information, please find us at www.AmericanAddictionCenters.org. We also offer several online resources for the public. Visit americanaddictioncenters.org/online-resources to learn more.


Director of Corporate Communications American Addiction Centers
Joy Sutton

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