National serology testing and decision-making
The NDM has created a high throughput robotic serology testing platform reporting anti-SARS-2 Spike antibody levels in people exposed to the virus (>99% sensitivity and specificity). The diverse project team of clinical and non-clinical staff from the NHS, NDM, Rosalind Franklin Institute and Diamond Light Source has been led by Professors David Stuart and Derrick Crook. It has brought together our expertise anti-viral humoral immunity, our ability to produce high quality antigens, and our strength in clinical microbiology and infectious diseases. The NDM has formed a strategic alliance with Thermo Fisher to support the platforms and transition to a capacity of up to 50,000 assays/24hr.
Since 26th April, we have been reporting data to the UK government on SARS-Cov2 immunity in the UK population. This forms part of an Office of National Statistics COVID19 Survey led by Professor Sarah Walker. The platform has been used to survey UK BioBank and 10,000 NHS staff in Oxford. Our reagents and protocols have been shared and used to establish serology screens in our overseas units, notably in Kenya. Going forward, our experience in establishing the assay and ability to generate high quality antigens, provides us with the capacity to respond rapidly to future pandemic threats.
Our team has used our platform to compare routine laboratory and home commercial serology kits and provide validate antigens for the development of lateral flow tests, both at the request of the UK government.
Read about how Oxford ramps up COVID-19 testing capability.