Thermo Fisher says it can provide 100,000 coronavirus tests a day to UK
Camilla Hodgson in London
US giant Thermo Fisher plans to supply all the Covid-19 tests needed for the UK government to ramp up screening to 100,000 per day, the company’s chief operating officer said on Thursday.
Mark Stevenson told the BBC’s Today Programme that Thermo Fisher had agreed with the UK government to supply “more than 100,000 tests per day” and would scale up its manufacturing capacity in Britain to enable the kits to be manufactured here.
The government intends to increase the number of diagnostic PCR tests being done for the virus each day to 100,000 by the end of April, from around 15,000 at the moment.
Sir Paul Nurse, director and chief executive of London’s Francis Crick Institute, which is supporting the testing effort, said on Wednesday that the goal was “a stretch.”
But Professor John Newton, the government’s adviser on testing, said the target was “feasible” and Kathy Hall, director of Covid-19 testing strategy at the Department of Health, said the government was “confident” it would succeed.
Mr Stevenson said Thermo Fisher was confident of being able to supply the kits. “The challenge has really been making sure we have the lab capacity,” he added. To meet this need, the government has built three new “mega labs” where samples will be processed.
“We have the capacity to supply those labs with the necessary reagents and kits,” Mr Stevenson added.