Largest COVID PCR testing provider announces new nationwide network of ‘adaptive’ labs

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Largest COVID PCR testing provider announces new nationwide network of ‘adaptive’ labs

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Tuesday 28 September 2021:  Largest COVID PCR testing provider announces new nationwide network of ‘adaptive’ labs

Randox, the UK’s largest laboratory diagnostics company, today announces its most significant expansion to date – the opening of 10 new adaptive “cube” laboratories within Great Britain. These facilities provide a rapid and cost-effective model to expand laboratory provision.   They will improve accessibility to Covid testing, facilitate wider screening services and adapt to future health and testing challenges.  Based on a modular format, sites can be operational within weeks and be redeployed if required.

The laboratories will initially be used to enhance the UK’s COVID-19 testing capacity during the winter, with each lab’s daily capacity of 12,000 tests combining to bring online an additional 120,000 COVID samples per day.  They can subsequently be re-purposed to meet the UK’s post COVID diagnostic requirements.

The opening of the new laboratories, which upon completion, will create 700 new jobs across the UK, follows £30 million of investment by Randox, bringing its total COVID-19 investment to £150 million. Two of Randox’s ten new labs are already operational outside Manchester, with two sites to the north of London opening before the end of the month. Following this, a further six labs are set to open by the end of 2021.

Commenting on the announcement Dr Peter FitzGerald, Randox Managing Director, said;

“Whilst the initial emphasis of these new laboratories will be on providing accessible, reliable and cost-effective COVID PCR tests, we of course acknowledge the positive steps being taken to ease restrictions and continue opening up our economy.

“We can draw on what we have learnt both pre and during COVID, leveraging the extensive logistics framework and IT infrastructure we have put in place, to directly address the global shortfall in laboratory testing capacity that has been exposed by the pandemic.

“The time taken to establish the required diagnostic infrastructure in the early stages of the pandemic adversely impacted the international response, but with such an adaptable capability, the UK can, as and when needed, respond rapidly to ever-increasing diagnostic demand.”

The new adaptive laboratories from Randox will ensure the provision of travel testing for those who still require them, and can also support any surge testing for the UK’s National COVID Testing Programme; Randox has processed and reported over 18 million COVID PCR samples to date.  Randox also facilitate Covid-19 lateral flow testing.

Having used its 40 years’ experience in diagnostics to focus the business towards COVID testing and support the fight against the virus, Randox, established in 1982, will subsequently use its new lab sites to service a wider UK system of walk-in clinics which can offer whole-body diagnostic screening programmes.

Dr FitzGerald continued;

“The legacy of COVID is that people increasingly understand and appreciate the importance of diagnostics and testing across our society, and as such we anticipate a real appetite from people to take greater interest in their health.

“We will continue COVID testing where necessary but will harness this high-volume testing capacity to pivot back to our core business offering of clinical health tests. The investment we have made in COVID lab facilities will allow us to build a national testing network that will facilitate a shift towards a new era of preventative healthcare, in which ill-health and disease are detected at the earliest possible opportunity, potentially even before symptoms appear.

“Our new adaptive laboratories will fundamentally be a game-changer for the UK’s future diagnostics requirements – improving patient outcomes and reducing the burden on healthcare services.”

 

For further information on Covid testing services please contact the Randox Covid Customer Support team on covidcustomersupport@randox.com  or +44 (0) 28 9434 3005.

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Biotin supplementation interference in health testing

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12 February 2021

Biotin supplementation interference in health testing

How much do you know about Biotin? Commonly known as Vitamin B7, Biotin is taken by as many as 20% of people, including high profile celebrities like Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian and Vanessa Hudgens, for its hair and nail-strengthening properties.

If you take biotin supplements, it is important to know the effects it can have on particular blood tests, should you visit your GP or local hospital.

Whilst there are various diagnostic health tests out there, including fertility hormone tests, prostate tests, and tests for troponin – a marker released into the blood during a heart attack – that are known to be affected by elevated levels of biotin, there are other tests available, including those provided by Randox, that are not impacted.

The reason that so many non-Randox tests are impacted by biotin is that biotin is widely used throughout the biotechnology industry in the development of diagnostic tests.

ELISA tests in particular (tests that measure the reaction of antibodies to identify a substance) often make use of antibodies labelled with biotin, to detect toxins or other foreign substances within the body.

In most instances, the biotin will bind to a protein called streptavidin. This bonding is the strongest non-covalent biological interaction known, and is therefore particularly useful in binding antibodies within diagnostic tests.

But with more and more people exceeding the recommended daily dosage for biotin (30 micrograms) by taking up to 10,000 micrograms of biotin in supplements marketed for beauty reasons, many diagnostic tests are being measured inaccurately. Excess biotin in the blood can block the binding of biotin-labelled antibodies to streptavidin within the tests, and the substance being tested won’t be measured accurately.

Laboratory professionals have known about this potential problem for some time. In late November 2017, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) published a safety notice to make the public and healthcare practitioners more aware that biotin can “significantly interfere with certain lab tests and cause incorrect test results.”

The FDA even reported on one particular case in which a patient died following falsely low troponin (marker of a heart attack) results when the troponin test used was known to have biotin interference. Biotin supplements masked the true diagnosis of a heart attack.

Many patients taking biotin supplements have also been misdiagnosed with a condition called Graves’ disease, an autoimmune condition characterised by an overactive thyroid. In these cases, biotin supplementation led to falsely low levels of thyroid stimulating hormones, and falsely high levels of other thyroid hormones. This particular profile of hormones led to a Graves’ disease diagnosis, in spite of a lack of symptoms, which in Graves’ disease would usually include muscle weakness, a quickened heartbeat, sleeping problems, diarrhoea, weight loss and poor tolerance of heat.

In pregnant women, tests that are impacted by biotin interference may produce falsely low results of beta HCG, more commonly known as the ‘pregnancy hormone’ as it released by the placenta after conception. With low levels of beta HCG, and therefore no confirmation of pregnancy, pregnant women could be exposed to X-rays and CT scans that may harm the developing foetus.

So, what can be done? Suggestions have been made that patients taking biotin supplements should be made to wait before any diagnostic testing is conducted, so that the biotin clears from their system.

But this “Wait and Watch” approach certainly would not work in emergencies. In the case of a heart attack, testing must be conducted as soon as possible to allow for diagnosis, immediate medical intervention and follow-up testing.

At Randox, we are convinced that the risk of analytic interference by biotin supplementation is a serious problem that needs to be more widely recognised and promptly addressed.

In the GP setting, general practitioners must ask their patients if they are taking any biotin supplements and inform the testing laboratory if interference from biotin is a possibility. They should also consider that lab results not matching with a patient’s signs and symptoms may be caused by biotin interference.

In the acute care setting however, it is imperative that biotin technology is not used in diagnostic testing to protect patients from misdiagnosis and subsequently, further health problems.

This is why Randox’s patented Biochip Array Technology does not use biotin technology in its development. This revolutionary methodology, free from Biotin-Streptavidin is not impacted by elevated levels of biotin from supplementation in the same way as Biotin-Streptavidin tests.

So if you have been taking supplements for hair or nail growth, to ease symptoms associated with Multiple Sclerosis, for epilepsy or for a range of other health conditions, and your diagnostic testing has been conducted using Randox Biochip Array Technology, you can rest assured of true, accurate, and reliable results.

Randox Biochip Array Technology is interference-proof.

For further information on the Randox Biochip, visit https://www.randox.com/multiplex-testing/

For any additional questions, please contact Randox PR by email: randoxpr@randox.com or by phoning 028 9442 2413

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Think you may have Coeliac Disease? We have a test for that.

It’s just one of those things. Some of us simply can’t process gluten.

But what you may not know is that it may be coeliac disease that’s causing your bloating, headaches, discomfort or tiredness.

Coeliac disease is a genetic, autoimmune digestive disorder thought to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide. When someone with coeliac disease accidentally eats food containing gluten, it triggers an immune response. This causes the lining of the small intestine to become inflamed and damaged.

This is painful and makes it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients and vitamins from the food. For that reason, those with coeliac disease are advised to avoid all gluten completely. If not treated, coeliac disease can lead to other serious health problems such as osteoporosis, bowel cancer, and can cause infertility.

The good news is, that with Randox Health’s specialised Coeliac Autoimmune Disease test, you can find out whether you’re likely to be gluten-intolerant or have Coeliac disease.

The Coeliac Disease test is included in our Everyman, Everywoman and Signature programmes, and within our Digestive Health Programme, which is on offer during the month of September for only £200 (RRP £300).

Finding out you are gluten-intolerant can then be easily managed, with a wide variety of non-gluten alternatives for pasta, bread, cereal, biscuits and many other foods that usually contain gluten.

Why not book your Digestive Health Programme with Randox Health today and take back control of your health?

Visit www.randoxhealth.com or get in contact with our team by phoning 0800 2545 130.