A rapid testing programme has launched at Siemens Mobility’s facilities in Chippenham, Poole and Northampton as part of the Government’s UK-wide continuing drive to track additional cases of COVID-19.
Around one in three people who are infected with COVID-19 have no symptoms so could be spreading the disease without knowing it. Broadening testing to identify those showing no symptoms will mean finding positive cases more quickly, and break chains of transmission. With its targeted approach, this programme aims to reduce the prevalence of the virus.
Siemens Mobility has begun rapid testing using lateral flow tests, provided by NHS Test and Trace, as part of a programme to enable testing in private industries. This will enable workers based at the company’s Chippenham, Poole and Northampton sites, who manufacture and maintain critical road and rail infrastructure, to benefit from regular testing with rapid results to help prevent the spread of infection. This will provide reassurance to workers and enable prompt isolation in the event of a positive test.
From the start of the pandemic, the Government has been working around the clock with a range of partners to fight coronavirus. This has included Siemens’ participation in the UK Ventilator Challenge to help ramp up manufacture of ventilation equipment for hospitals.
Use of multiple testing technologies could significantly improve the detection of positive cases, so people can isolate themselves and prevent the spread of the disease. Using rapid-turnaround lateral flow tests will help the government to protect those at high risk, find the virus and help enable us to go back to as normal a way of life as possible.
Lateral flow tests used by the UK Government go through a rigorous evaluation by the country’s leading scientists. Tests detect cases with high levels of virus, making them effective in finding infectious individuals who aren’t showing any symptoms and are the most likely to transmit the disease.
Health Minister Lord Bethell said: “We’ve already come so far since first setting up a national testing programme at an unprecedented pace to help counter COVID-19, but we continue to strive to go further, faster. Rapid testing technologies hold the key to the next phase of our ambition to see testing available to people across the country.
“I’m delighted that Siemens Mobility is working with us to use the latest technology and I look forward to seeing the fruits of their labour, both in helping target the virus locally, and helping find ways to roll this technology out further soon.”
Baroness Dido Harding, Interim Executive Chair of the National Institute for Health Protection, said: “The innovation and evolution of NHS Test and Trace continues to improve our detection of positive cases and I am incredibly proud of the speed at which we have been able to roll out these initiatives to protect more people more quickly. This is a national effort and a partnership of public and private sectors is instrumental in our response to this virus.
“Around one in three people with COVID-19 don’t display symptoms, meaning you can infect others unknowingly. This rapid testing programme with Siemens Mobility is one of many that will inform our understanding of how rapid asymptomatic testing can be operationalised in the real world to protect those at high risk, find the virus and help us go back to as normal a way of life as possible.”
William Wilson, CEO at Siemens Mobility Limited, concluded: “It’s important that Siemens Mobility can play its part in finding cases in order to defeat COVID-19 and support our local community to be safer. The introduction of regular testing, with almost instant results, helps to prevent the spread of infection as well as provide our employees with peace of mind.”