The test is able to detect antibodies that can be used to identify an immune response and may be critical in supporting back-to-work strategies. It may further help the Welsh Government and epidemiologists research the spread and impact of the virus as well as inform health care providers when treatment is necessary.
‘Antibody testing is an important part of our strategy to counter the spread of COVID-19 and to help us understand who has had the disease’ says David Heyburn, Head of Operations of The National Infection Service; ‘knowing that the production of the test will be local to us in Wales was of great importance as we determined which suppliers to rely on.’
Ortho’s Senior Site Director Paul Hales says ‘We have built a deep scientific and manufacturing expertise here in Wales over many years, enabling us to produce these important products. I am extremely proud of our team members, who have been working day and night as we reach a mass scale of production of our COVID-19 assays and we are all looking forward to playing our part as the product reaches the hands of our frontline NHS and Care workers and the wider population in Wales.’
Ortho Clinical Diagnostics has been manufacturing complex diagnostic testing kits in South Wales for almost 40 years. Originally established in Cardiff in 1980, the company moved to a state-of-the-art facility in Pencoed in 2010 where about 450 people are based – a diverse mix of people, from young graduates and apprentices through to staff with over 30 years of experience.
An established and recognised company in the growing life sciences community in Wales, the company has long been able to attract the top talent from local universities, many of which have very well established life sciences schools. The calibre of their workforce as well as a location that enables them to access their distribution networks quickly and easily will help the company evolve and improve for many years to come.
A global leader in in-vitro diagnostics – the testing of blood and tissue samples that supports around 70% of medical decisions – Ortho makes immunoassay and immunohematology products that serve immunohematology communities around the world including hospitals, hospital networks, blood banks and clinical laboratories in more than 125 countries and territories.