Randox Covid-19 Testing: Evaluating the health, social and economic impacts

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Randox Covid-19 Testing: Evaluating the health, social and economic impacts

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3rd April 2023: COVID-19 Report Reveals How Randox’s 25 Million PCR Tests Averted Thousands of Hospitalisations and Deaths And Delivered Billions of Pounds Of Economic Benefits

A new report on the work of leading diagnostics company Randox shows that its COVID-19 PCR testing in the public and private sectors averted more than 3,000 UK deaths and 14,100 additional hospitalisations during the pandemic emergency.

That assessment is contained in an evidence-based report into the performance and delivery of Randox during the crisis, compiled by internationally respected economic development consultants OCO Global.

As well as illustrating the impact of PCR testing on deaths and hospitalisations, the report provides an assessment of the wider economic benefit of the test and trace programme.

It reveals that Randox testing delivered £8.3 billion of benefits to the UK economy, by reducing transmission and expediting the return to work for key workers, as well as facilitating social engagement and international travel, crucial to economic recovery.

The report is believed to be one of the most comprehensive analyses of any company awarded government Covid-19 contracts.  It will also be provided to the COVID-19 Public Inquiry to assist their considerations regarding future evidence that may be required.

In total, the OCO Global report confirms that Randox processed over 17 million PCR tests as part of the government’s national testing programme between March 2020 and June 2022. The company also provided a further 7.7 million PCR tests plus around 1.8 million lateral flow tests to corporate clients and international travelers.

The report estimates that Randox’s private testing facilitated 4.4 million international return journeys, many of them crucial to support the economy in a time of medical and financial emergency. Other tests supported the nation’s social fabric, enabling people to travel for leisure purposes and to meet families.

The evidence highlights the Northern Ireland-based company’s 40 years experience as one of the world’s leading diagnostic testing companies. This experience, says the OCO report, coupled with the company’s ability and willingness as a private business to innovate and invest its own resources in rapidly upscaling to meet the crisis enabled it successfully to deliver testing on a vast scale. The report also says that innovation in software, automation and robotics, in particular, helped ensure that Randox optimised laboratory efficiency and drove down costs to the benefit of contracting parties.

The report sets out the high level of financial risk taken by Randox during the pandemic and their rapid expansion of laboratories, staff levels and capacity to meet the emergency demand for testing.

In just ten months, Randox increased its capacity to process PCR tests – from 300 tests per day on March 30th 2020, to 120,000 per day by January 2021.

This involved building, equipping and staffing 80,000 square feet of PCR testing laboratory space at the Randox Science Park in County Antrim – the equivalent of a football pitch of new laboratory space.

Overall, the report confirms these improvements and development enabled Randox to deliver 12 per cent of the UK’s PCR testing – and a considerably higher percentage at times when Covid-19 cases, hospitalisations and deaths rocketed to their highest levels. It also notes that the Randox rate of void samples was 15 per cent below the average for the testing programme as a whole.

The report adds: “These improvements would be passed on to the UK Treasury as Randox was able to drive down the cost of testing from £49.60 to £18.00.

“Private individuals also benefited from Randox process improvement as the company was at the forefront of driving down the price of private testing. By October 2021 the cost of a PCR test (click and collect) would be £34.99, a 70 percent decrease from December 2020.”  This price included the sample collection kits and all logistics and services, not within the government contracts.

In assessing Randox’s performance the report goes on to say:  “Randox is a privately owned company that can make decisions quickly and this proved invaluable in the frenetic early stages of the pandemic when companies and governments across the world were scrambling for supplies and consumables.

“Randox’s willingness to invest came with significant risk: through the majority of the National Testing Programme, Randox were only paid for tests completed and there were no guarantees that payment for the number of tests indicatively contracted for would be received.

“This placed considerable risk with Randox who were having to purchase vast quantities of consumables, despite the uncertainty around how long the pandemic would last or how government policy might change.

“It was this successful risk management which enabled Randox to be one of the best performing laboratories across the National Testing Programme.”

Gareth Hagan, CEO of OCO Global said:

“OCO Global was commissioned by Randox to compile a full, open and comprehensive report into the value of the company’s work, performance and delivery of PCR testing during the pandemic. Randox was a cooperative partner, providing access both to data and to personnel from across the organisation.

“We were able to use external interviews and data sources to corroborate our research. We are satisfied that the facts and the evidence-based findings of our report accurately reflect the work of Randox  during the Covid-19 emergency.”

A spokesman for Randox said:

“We believe this report delivers clear evidence of the performance, outcomes and value of the work which Randox is proud to have carried out during one of the greatest peacetime emergencies to have hit the world and the UK.

Editors Notes

Gareth Hagan is interview for media interview

OCO Global is a leading specialist provider of trade and investment services. Headquartered in Northern Ireland, OCO Global has offices in the UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Japan, UAE, China and the U.S.

OCO Global’s clients include leading national, state and regional economic development organizations such as The Department For International Trade (DIT), Enterprise Florida and The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), as well as private companies seeking to enter new markets or grow their domestic base, including EY, PWC, Siemens, Smiley Monroe, Pepsico and Santander.

Media Enquiries to Ian Monk /Heather Vernon

Ian.monk@woburnpartners.com                  +44 7970 026072

Heather.vernon@woburnpartners.com      +44 7747 097821

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Randox response to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report, ‘Government’s contracts with Randox Laboratories Ltd’

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27th July 2022: Randox response to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report, ‘Government’s contracts with Randox Laboratories Ltd’

A spokesperson for Randox said:

“The PAC report is deeply flawed and wrong in assumptions it makes and the conclusions it draws about Randox.

“As the UK’s largest diagnostic company, with four decades of experience, over 2,000 professional staff on hand at the start of the pandemic and more than £350m of prior investment in diagnostic and engineering innovation, Randox was uniquely situated to respond to the national need when COVID-19 emerged in early 2020.

“In supporting the UK’s urgent requirement for coronavirus testing Randox reacted with speed, efficiency and flexibility in delivering value. The company developed and built, in record time, the UK’s largest COVID-19 laboratories and testing services. It provided the Department of Health and Social Care with a PCR testing capacity at the time of greatest need, rising from 300 tests per day to 120,000 per day by January 2021.

“Altogether Randox processed over 25 million samples for UK’s National Testing Programme and in support of international travel for business and personal reasons. This played a crucial role in keeping vital elements of the UK economy functioning during lockdowns.

“In adapting to rapidly changing DHSC and Department of Transport requirements, Randox delivered unique value to the government, the national economy and to individuals.

“At no stage, either during its deliberations or in its preparation of this report, did the PAC make any contact whatsoever with Randox. Consequently many elements of its report relating to Randox are false, based as they are, on wrong and unchecked assumptions about the company. For that reason, they and any publications arising from them are the subject of a legal complaint.”

“The issues the report raises around internal DHSC record keeping are clearly a matter for DHSC”

For all media enquiries, please contact Ian Monk on ian@ianmonk.com or  +44 7970 026072 / + 44 203 011 1933

 

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Response to release of specified minutes, notes and correspondence relating to Government contracts awarded to Randox

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4th February 2022: Response to release of specified minutes, notes and correspondence relating to Government contracts awarded to Randox

A spokesperson for Randox said:

“It is clear from these papers that Randox contracts were awarded in full compliance with government procedures and protocols in place at a time of the emerging pandemic.

“The awarding of the contracts reflected Randox’s extensive diagnostics capabilities within the UK and 40 years of experience in that field. As Secretary of State, Sajid Javid says in his statement, the service Randox provided was integral to the rapid building, from scratch, of the largest ever testing industry in UK history.

“Randox’s laboratories expanded rapidly in order to operate at scale and were the first laboratory to report over 100,000 PCR results in a day. It is clear from these papers that the company has delivered a vital and core part of the UK’s testing capacity.

“Randox remains proud of its performance and delivery of Covid 19 testing throughout the pandemic. To date Randox has reported almost 24 million PCR results and has played a key role in both keeping people safe and sustaining vital national infrastructure.

“Unlike other laboratories Randox was able from the outset to provide whole-system capabilities to deliver the tests. Both the World Health Organisation and the UK government agreed this capability was crucial to combating the pandemic.”

For all media enquiries, please contact Ian Monk on ian@ianmonk.com or  +44 7970 026072 / + 44 203 011 1933

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Evaluation of Omicron Variant to Ensure Test Effectiveness

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7th December 2021

Evaluating Omicron and Other SARS-CoV-2 Variants to Ensure Test Effectiveness

SARS-CoV-2, like all viruses, evolves over time through mutations, as it spreads and replicates. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, with different sets of mutations, have been observed worldwide. Most changes have little impact on the virus’ properties. However, some may cause increased transmissibility, severity of disease or the ability to evade the host immune response. Surveillance of genetic variations is therefore crucial to identify those variants which pose a higher risk to human health.

Variants may impact the performance of current diagnostic approaches. This is why Randox continuously review public genomic databases to assess whether any emerging mutations overlap with the assay design and monitor assay performance as part of post-market surveillance efforts to ensure the coronavirus assays continue to meet the highest quality standards.

In light of the emergence of the new variant of concern detected in South Africa, Omicron (B.1.1.529), Randox have analysed all publicly available sequences of the variant to predict any impact of defining mutations on assay designs.

As the COVID-19 assays from Randox Laboratories Ltd. are designed using a dual-target approach (ORf1ab, E gene) to reduce the impact of genetic variation in the SARS-CoV-2 genome, detection of SARS-CoV-2 is not predicted to be affected by the currently known variants.

Detection of SARS-CoV-2 using the Vivalytic rapid RT-PCR tests, targeting the E gene sequence are not affected by the identified mutations. Assay performance is not predicted to be impaired by the current known variants.

Randox Laboratories Ltd., in collaboration with leading technology manufacturer Bosch Healthcare Solutions, have developed a range of COVID-19 testing solutions, providing clear and concise results in a timely manner, directly at the point of care. Randox is a distributor for Vivalytic platform and cartridges.

For all enquiries regarding our COVID-19 assays performance , please contact marketing@randox.com

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Randox welcomes CMA moves to safeguard consumer interests around PCR testing

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3rd December 2021

Randox Statement: Randox welcomes CMA moves to safeguard consumer interests around PCR testing

Responding to today’s announcement by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), a spokesman for Randox said:

“We welcome the role played by the CMA, with our full co-operation, in ensuring that consumers continue to get a fair deal during the Covid emergency.

“Randox has been happy to engage fully with the CMA from the outset to ensure in the interests of its customers while the company delivers millions of Covid-19 PCR tests to facilitate vital international travel against the changing requirements of governments.

“As the industry leader, Randox has been in the ideal position to both review the services required to support the international traveller and provide a consumer-industry standard of Terms and Conditions. These have, of necessity, evolved over time.

“In working with the CMA, Randox’s aim has been to ensure absolute fairness whilst building and providing critical services in a highly volatile and demanding environment.”

Additional Information

Randox has today welcomed engagement with the CMA to optimise Covid-19 PCR testing support for international travel whilst ensuring the sustainability of critical national services.

As the industry leader Randox has been in the ideal position to both review the services required to support the international traveller, and provide a consumer-industry standard of Terms and Conditions, which have evolved over time. In working with the CMA Randox’s aim has been to ensure absolute fairness whilst building and providing critical services in a highly volatile and demanding environment.

“Both industry and the travelling public have faced significant pressures in enabling international travel,” said a spokesperson. “From an industry perspective Government required immediate and large scale investment to establish validated end-to-end testing services, supported by nationwide logistics, with fully secure reporting to both individuals and Government. Yet there were no contracts, no expected duration for services and the requirement was based on a single product – Covid-19 PCR testing. It was also evident that Government would remove the requirement for such testing as soon as practicable and would not provide any further support.”

The spokesperson went on; “At the same time as requiring significant investment and a rapid response from industry, Government retained the right to alter demand on an almost daily basis and did so frequently by moving countries between the green, amber and red lists with no notice. Government subsequently removed the country lists entirely and effectively closed the requirements for international travel PCRs by moving to lateral flow devices in October – only months after establishing services.” The decision by the Prime Minister to reintroduce PCR testing at very short notice this week, without prior notice to industry, further illustrates the challenges faced.

It had also been clear that the public were faced with highly variable pricing by a number of suppliers – some advertising low prices, but which were only available in very limited circumstances – something Grant Shapps asked the CMA to review. “From the very start Randox committed to highly competitive and transparent pricing which was available across the nation,” said the spokesperson. “Our home testing kits are available at an all inclusive price of £43 with a click and collect service at £34.99 – we know that these represent excellent value for money.”

Randox’s engagement with the CMA has provided the ability to review consumer-industry terms and conditions in the light of very hard won experience. “We do hope that other providers will consider our terms and conditions,” said the spokesperson, “and we know that the CMA will provide further guidance where required.”

The spokesperson went on; “We at Randox are very proud of what we have achieved in very demanding and volatile circumstances. We have built and sustained a reliable and cost effective service to enable international travel – meeting critical business needs and ensuring friends and families can continue to meet. We are committed to providing this service for as long as Government requires.”

 

For all media enquiries, please contact Ian Monk on ian@ianmonk.com or  +44 7970 026072 / + 44 203 011 1933

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House of Commons Debate | Randox Statement

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17th November 2021: House of Commons Debate | Randox Statement

Randox will be pleased to co-operate fully in laying before the House all the material required.

Public disclosure will demonstrate the extraordinary efficiency and value for money provided by Randox through contracts awarded in full compliance with government regulations at a time of national crisis.

Contrary to much of what has been written and broadcast, lobbying played no role in the awarding of these contracts.

The company has 40 years experience in testing and diagnostics. It is proud of its performance and delivery under the contracts awarded to it on merit by the Government. They resulted in the delivery of more than 21 million Covid tests, 15 million of them to the National Testing Programme from the start of the emergency in the Spring of 2020.

At this time, hindered by global shortages and less experience than Randox, other laboratories were simply not able to provide whole-system capabilities to deliver the tests which the World Health Organisation and the UK government agreed were crucial to combating the pandemic.

 

11th November 2021: COVID Contracts | Randox Statement

Randox  states categorically that political lobbying played no role in the award of Covid contracts to the company. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) contracts to provide Covid-19 testing were awarded on merit to Randox as the largest healthcare diagnostic company from the UK. The entire process was transparent and compliant with government regulations in a time of national crisis.

Randox has almost 40 years experience in testing and diagnostics: it was one of the first companies in the world to develop a Covid-19 test and to have developed extensive laboratory, IT and logistic infrastructure to support large scale testing operations. The decision to award Covid-19 contracts was fully validated by the company’s performance and delivery under the terms of the contracts.

The company was awarded its initial Covid contract on 30 Mar 20 and, within a short period, had exceeded the initial Covid-19 testing capability of the entire NHS.

Subsequent DHSC planning required Randox to deliver 17,000 tests per day by the end of April and more beyond then. To facilitate and ultimately enable these extraordinary levels of delivery, Randox was temporarily allocated 5 extraction systems from universities in order to increase capacity. DHSC directed the Army to collect equipment, in line with their support for all Pillar 2 laboratories.

This was a pragmatic and transparent move by the DHSC to meet a critical national need to save lives and ease overwhelming pressure on the NHS.  The extraction systems were returned once the systems ordered by Randox, against the backdrop of a global shortage of such equipment, had been delivered and installed.

Randox and its staff have striven tirelessly and innovatively to support the national Covid-19 testing effort. We are proud of our collective achievement at a time of crisis in being the only Pillar 2 laboratory to have reported in excess of 100,000 Covid-19 results in one day.

 

For all media enquiries, please contact Ian Monk on ian@ianmonk.com or  +44 7970 026072 / + 44 203 011 1933

 

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COVID Contracts | Randox Statement

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11th November 2021: COVID Contracts | Randox Statement

Randox  states categorically that political lobbying played no role in the award of Covid contracts to the company. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) contracts to provide Covid-19 testing were awarded on merit to Randox as the largest healthcare diagnostic company from the UK. The entire process was transparent and compliant with government regulations in a time of national crisis.

Randox has almost 40 years experience in testing and diagnostics: it was one of the first companies in the world to develop a Covid-19 test and to have developed extensive laboratory, IT and logistic infrastructure to support large scale testing operations. The decision to award Covid-19 contracts was fully validated by the company’s performance and delivery under the terms of the contracts.

The company was awarded its initial Covid contract on 30 Mar 20 and, within a short period, had exceeded the initial Covid-19 testing capability of the entire NHS.

Subsequent DHSC planning required Randox to deliver 17,000 tests per day by the end of April and more beyond then. To facilitate and ultimately enable these extraordinary levels of delivery, Randox was temporarily allocated 5 extraction systems from universities in order to increase capacity. DHSC directed the Army to collect equipment, in line with their support for all Pillar 2 laboratories.

This was a pragmatic and transparent move by the DHSC to meet a critical national need to save lives and ease overwhelming pressure on the NHS.  The extraction systems were returned once the systems ordered by Randox, against the backdrop of a global shortage of such equipment, had been delivered and installed.

Randox and its staff have striven tirelessly and innovatively to support the national Covid-19 testing effort. We are proud of our collective achievement at a time of crisis in being the only Pillar 2 laboratory to have reported in excess of 100,000 Covid-19 results in one day.

 

For all media enquiries, please contact Ian Monk on ian@ianmonk.com or  +44 7970 026072 / + 44 203 011 1933

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Statement on Randox COVID-19 dropbox service

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09 August 2021: Logistics Update on Randox COVID-19 Testing for International Travel 

A spokesperson for Randox said:

“Randox is constantly expanding and improving its COVID-19 testing capacity and associated logistics network, which is already the largest in the United Kingdom, to meet the rapidly growing demand resulting from the loosening of travel restrictions. Randox continues to increase the number of drop boxes across the United Kingdom, which already totals over 200, and is increasing the frequency of box collections which are already occurring multiple times per day. Randox is providing premium testing services in dynamic and rapidly changing circumstances and is committed to continuously improving its logistics network, to ensure that all international travellers receive their results in time.”

Press enquiries should be emailed to randox@newcenturymedia.co.uk 

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Randox Statement following ‘The One Show’ Broadcast of 28th July 2021

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Randox Statement following ‘The One Show’ Broadcast of 28th July

Randox Laboratories completely refute the general portrayal of our services as shown on ‘The One Show’, broadcast on 28th July 2021.  The cases shown are not indicative or representative of the services provided. Randox have been active within the diagnostics / testing industry for almost 40 years.

Randox Laboratories run the largest Covid-19 PCR testing laboratories in Europe and since the start of the pandemic have tested and reported over 15 million samples.  Within our operations we are fully committed to the provision of PCR testing to support international travel and fully recognise the importance of such travel, and of traveling safely.

Randox are also committed to operational efficiency and to processes of continuous improvement.  This commitment is borne out by the fact that, over an extended period, 99.9% of international travel samples received in our laboratories have been reported within 24 hours.

We understand that there are certain elements of the process that are not fully within any national testing providers’ control, particularly in the area of logistics.   As a result Randox have established a branded nationwide drop box system that returns samples direct to our laboratories 7 days a week, in which we have full confidence.  Other providers, which customers may elect to use, may have a less comprehensive service.

Testing providers’ customer support services also have to deal with enormous peaks and troughs of demand, largely as a result of changes to Government travel policy to which no forewarning is provided. The requirements placed upon the general public, regarding testing for international travel, also add significant demands for information. Randox understands the frustration that potential customers may experience, common to all testing providers, and are addressing this through improved website design, use of social media, redeployment of staff and additional recruitment to our Call Centre.

Randox have great experience in the provision of PCR testing to support international travel,  a proven record of success in reporting high volumes of samples in a timely manner, and continually seek to improve the customer experience.   Randox has every confidence in its services.

The full statement provided to BBC Watchdog

A spokesperson for Randox said: “We take our responsibilities towards our customers extremely seriously, and recognise the crucial role we play in ensuring that international travel can take place safely.  Randox are processing high volumes of COVID-19 tests to support such travel with 99.9% of private sample results, from January – June 2021, returned within 24 hours of receipt into our laboratory. Our stated aim is to provide next day results for clients who use Randox drop boxes, and within 12-24 hours of receipt of the sample at our laboratory for other courier services. We have investigated the cases which have been brought to our attention, and have been in communication with the customers.

“We are duty bound to follow government guidance in relation to travel. We are not provided with forewarning on changes to existing guidance and, therefore, we aim to be as flexible as possible and adjust our operations in a timely manner in what are often rapidly changing circumstances.  We are deploying more dedicated resources at our call centre to help address the unprecedented and growing demand for our testing services.”

Press enquiries should be emailed to randox@newcenturymedia.co.uk 

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Vivalytic’s rapid coronavirus test delivers results for positive samples in less than 30 minutes

   

18th December 2020

Cloud-based software update means a faster PCR test for SARS-CoV-2

We are happy to announce that due to improved software for the Vivalytic analysis device, the CE marked Vivalytic SARS-CoV-2 rapid coronavirus test, which uses polymerase chain reactions (PCR), now delivers its results even faster. By applying optimized evaluation strategies, the Vivalytic analysis device can detect a positive SARS-CoV-2 sample through its high viral load in less than 30 minutes, right where the sample is collected.

This modified product is part of a research and development project relating specifically to COVID-19, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) to the tune of 4.97 million euros. The project’s aim is to expand the options for detecting acute infections of the coronavirus, looking particularly at on-the-spot testing in which the sample is analyzed in a fully automatic PCR process, as this offers rapid yet reliable results.

  • Improved software for Vivalytic: turnaround time for positive SARS-CoV-2 samples reduced to under 30 minutes.
  • Update from the cloud: Vivalytic analysis devices are updated over the internet.

Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH said;

“In the fight to contain the coronavirus pandemic, speed is of the essence. With Vivalytic, we are delivering cutting-edge medical technology. Our IT and software expertise have helped to make the Bosch Corona test for positive samples even faster – all within a short period of time.”

The new update is available for the SARS-CoV-2 singleplex test and the SARS-CoV-2 pooled test. Updating the Vivalytic testing devices is simple and straightforward – all that is required is an internet connection to access the Bosch cloud platform Vivasuite. Developed in-house at Bosch, the Vivasuite cloud platform allows users to digitally manage and update all their Bosch Healthcare Solutions devices. This is also an advantage when Vivalytic devices are in use in the field. The platform meets the strictest security standards and data privacy is guaranteed at all times: for example, there is no remote access to Vivalytic devices, and no possibility of accessing patient data.

The turnaround time for samples negative for SARS-CoV-2 is still 39 minutes. PCR tests are considered the gold standard, and Bosch’s rapid coronavirus tests have a sensitivity of 98 percent and a specificity of 100 percent.

Contact marketing@randox.com for further information on the latest vivalytic software update for SARS-CoV-2 testing. 

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