Spinout company Oxford Nanopore’s LamPORE technology is being used in a pilot programme to support Covid testing efforts. Four mobile testing laboratories are being deployed and this week the first mobile lab began testing in Aberdeen. The unit will then move round the Scottish Highlands to provide testing for those in remote locations. The equipment onboard ensures safe processing of test samples and allows testing to take place at scale and with quick turnaround of results; during an initial trial, more than 2000 samples could be tested in a day on a mobile test vehicle. LamPORE uses loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) and nanopore sequencing to provide highly scalable detection of Covid-19. It is a highly mobile technology making it ideal for deployment in remote locations.
The UK Government's evaluation report on the LamPORE test showed it to be highly accurate for the detection of SARS-CoV-2, with >99.5 percent sensitivity and specificity in both swab and saliva samples, making LamPORE highly effective for testing both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals. Professor Dame Sue Hill, Chief Scientific Officer for England in NHS Test and Trace, who led the evaluation of the Oxford Nanopore LamPORE test said:
The LamPORE test shows very high sensitivity, so can be used for the full range of diagnostic and other use cases. This study showed it to be effective when using saliva samples from people without symptoms and it has the additional advantage of being able to detect other winter viruses, such as flu, increasing the scenarios in which it could be deployed.