"There is a real commitment among employers to keep Covid-19 out of the workplace as much as possible"
AlphaBiolabs has created 10 new roles to cater for demand from UK businesses for its coronavirus testing kit which gives results within 15 minutes.
The Warrington-based testing firm has been swamped with orders since it launched the rapid screening kit in September.
The test, which works in similar fashion to a pregnancy test, can detect the presence of Covid-19 after the onset of symptoms or from 14 days after initial exposure to the virus.
It identifies specific proteins, known as antigens, which are situated on the cell membranes of the virus.
David Thomas, managing director of AlphaBiolabs, said the kit has become the company’s best-selling test as businesses seek to screen their staff without having to wait days for the results to become available following laboratory analysis.
The kit, which is sold for professional or business use only, is outselling AlphaBiolabs’ back-to-lab PCR coronavirus test by a factor of more than 10 to one.
David said sales of the antigen kit during November and December combined were over 70 per cent higher than those in September and October, and orders for January are rocketing as employers gear up for a fresh surge in Covid-19 testing programmes when staff to return to work after the festive period.
The rapid antigen test is carried out on-site by taking samples from the nose and throat. The result is made known via a portable immunoassay screening cassette.
David said: “Businesses across the UK are clearly trying to manage and navigate their operations in a proactive manner.
“Orders for January are extremely high, amid concerns of a third wave of the virus in the new year as a result of people socialising with family and friends or travelling abroad over the festive period.
“Employers are concerned that staff may have been exposed to the virus and could be about to bring a Covid viral infection into the workplace, and they are looking at effective testing programmes to protect their businesses and workforce.”
David said demand for AlphaBiolabs’ Covid-19 antigen screening kits is highest in industries where people cannot work from home and are in contact with others in the workplace. These include manufacturing, engineering, energy, warehousing, transport, infrastructure, construction, film and TV production.
“There is a real commitment among employers to keep Covid-19 out of the workplace as much as possible,” he added.
“The PCR, lab-based test is classed as the gold standard in Covid-19 testing, but is more expensive to implement than the rapid antigen test and the results take longer to come through.
“We didn’t expect demand for the rapid screening kit to outstrip the PCR test by over 10 to one but, when you consider the high performance, reduced cost and added convenience of an instant result, it is probably not too surprising amid the general desire for business continuity.”
The new posts at AlphaBiolabs include scientific, kit assembly, administration and and customer service roles.
The company’s latest recruitment drive has taken staff numbers to over 100.