Mobile COVID-19 testing laboratories containing Oxford Nanopore’s LamPORE test are now being deployed in a pilot programme, to support testing efforts, including in remote locations.
There are four mobile LamPORE units, currently located in Aberdeen, Telford, Brent and Newbury — where they are being used to support local testing services.
This week the first unit to arrive in Scotland started testing in Aberdeen. The unit will move around the Scottish highlands to provide testing for those in remote locations.
The equipment onboard ensures safe processing of the samples for testing with LamPORE and integration of automated processes allows for testing to take place at scale with quick turnaround of results.
During an initial trial, more than 2000 samples could be tested in a day on a mobile test vehicle.
Gordon Sanghera, Oxford Nanopore Technologies CEO said:
“We designed LamPORE with both centralised and decentralised COVID-19 testing in mind. Deploying the test using mobile laboratories enables the teams to respond to changing testing demands across the UK and deliver thousands of tests per day.”
An evaluation report has been published by UK Government, on the LamPORE test. In a study carried out by teams across the UK on more than 23,000 samples, LamPORE was shown to be highly accurate for the detection of SARS-CoV-2. The study demonstrated >99.5% sensitivity and specificity, in both swab and saliva samples, making LamPORE highly effect for testing symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals.
Oxford Nanopore’s LamPORE technology uses loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) and nanopore sequencing to provide highly scalable detection of Covid-19. LamPORE is a highly mobile technology making it ideal for deployment in remote locations.
In an announcement from the Department for Health and Social Care this week, Health Minister Lord Bethell said:
“With one in three people not displaying symptoms of Covid-19, broadening asymptomatic testing is critical to protect those at highest risk. The LamPORE mobile laboratories provide a new way in which we can respond to testing demand where there is most need.”
Professor Dame Sue Hill, Chief Scientific Officer for England in NHS Test and Trace, who led the evaluation of 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.”
Since the start of the pandemic, Oxford Nanopore’s sequencing technology has also been used extensively by scientists around the world to sequence the virus that causes COVID-19. Sequencing the virus in positive samples and sharing this data widely has enabled scientists to track transmission, detect new variants and inform public health decision making to date.