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Opinion : Why didn’t the UK develop its own COVID-19 home antibody test months ago?

| April 10, 2020


No doubt you are probably aware of the charade of the ‘home antibody’ tests for the COVID-19 virus.

It seems that recently the UK purchased 3.5million tests from China, however it seems the tests were unreliable and now the Government is trying to cancel the order and get their money back.

Of course this leaves the UK without a test that can be used at home, indeed if you read my recent blog entitled ‘Have you received your Coronavirus home test kit yet?‘ (of course nobody has received one) it seems that no country in the world has been successful in obtaining a reliable home antibody test for COVID-19.

But hang on, the UK is a great, if not the greatest, nation in the world indeed we are a leader in many fields and over the centuries many British inventions have helped to shape the modern world.

Britain is also about to become ‘independent’ again following Brexit so my good self is rather concerned that the home antibody test charade is exposing a rather worrying taste of things to come once we are independent.

When the Coronavirus first emerged in China back in December 2019 why didn’t the great, good and supposedly intelligent in the UK Government see all this coming?

Surely there are ‘pandemic experts’ who should have realised that antibody testing can reveal those who are immune to further infection thus allowing them to exit a pandemic ‘lock down’? Indeed Britain could have started development on our own antibody test for home use months ago.

Instead of the UK having to purchase tests from China now, the UK could have got the tests developed, tested and approved months ago and we could have sold the tests to the Chinese! And potentially to the rest of the world too.

My good self finds it worrying that in a post Brexit world the UK was seemingly caught lagging. Is our country so ‘dumb’ that even at the highest levels when we want something the first thought is to ‘buy from China’ rather than to manufacture ourselves and sell to the rest of the world?

In my opinion things will have to change if ‘Brexit Britain’ is to succeed on its own once we stop holding hands with the other countries in Europe.

On the bright side, in my view, the UK did steal one march over the Chinese and that is in the building of the ‘Nightingale Hospitals’.

The Chinese built the ‘Huoshenshan hospital in Wuhan city’ in 10 days starting from scratch however the UK was far cleverer by using the ExCel centre in London and simply converting it to another purpose in just 9 days – we only had to convert the inside and not construct the entire building.

One point of note, are the same unreliable Chinese antibody tests being used by the Chinese in their own country? If so does that not cast doubt on what is happening in China and possibly leading to people believing that are immune when they are not?

Oh, and if someone in the Government would like a ‘heads up’ on what needs to be ‘done next’ and some pointers on how the UK can be made a global player in the manufacturing world once again then feel free to contact me….

As a starting point perhaps the UK should look at starting/increasing production of other items such as Personal Protective Equipment e.g. face masks? It’s very simple to do (as shown in the video from the Testex Instruments YouTube channel below), we could even be exporting the masks to the rest of the world rather than relying on supplies from abroad.

My good self can see improvements to the machine shown (above). Why not double the speed of the first stage that folds the material and have four, instead of two, second stage parts that sew on the ear loops? The machine could easily be scaled up to increase the rate of production by a factor of two! Perhaps the Chinese should get in touch with my good self for some production efficiency tips?

What do you think?

My blogs are published regularly here on the WycombeToday.com website.

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