Hertford Responds: OSCAR and Oxford Rapid Testing Kits- The Importance of International Collaboration
28 May 2020 - 17:00
When COVID-19 hit the UK, we were able to respond quickly in developing a rapid test kit to test the virus from swabs. The test is fast (30 min) and can be performed almost anywhere, without the need for special equipment and facilities. As the staggered reopening of the lockdown begins, testing, particularly on site and while waiting, becomes even more important. The Oxford test, based on RT-LAMP, tests whether the individual carries the SAR-COV-2 virus and can meet this acute need.
– Professor Zhanfeng Cui
Professor Cui’s project was started in the Oxford Suzhou Centre for Advanced Research (OSCAR) in Suzhou, China. This centre is wholly owned by the University of Oxford and was where the team decided to begin pursuing testing research in response to the lockdown in China. Later in February, the research at OSCAR was halted and moved to Oxford whilst collaborators in China, who could access the clinical samples, helped with clinical validation. As the pandemic spread and it became more difficult to do research, OSCAR became the major base for scaled up research in China.
The two based model of being able to use both the Oxford and Suzhou facilities enabled the team to conduct their research and development activities with almost full speed and capacity despite the world shutting down. Within a matter of weeks, a deployable product had been developed and OSCAR played an important role in making this happen.
Join Professor Cui as he talks about how this testing capability was developed and the importance of the collaboration between OSCAR and the teams in Oxford.