Coronavirus testing kits used by the Premier League will not cut into NHS resources says the company providing them.
Global digital health company Prenetics will provide over 16,000 tests to be conducted each week as part of the first phase of Project Restart to allow clubs to return to training ahead of any potential resumption.
Clubs were given the green light to resume football activities on Monday and chief executive Richard Masters stated the importance of the Premier League pushing on without being a burden on the British public.
Download the new Independent Premium app
Sharing the full story, not just the headlines
Prenetics and its consortium helped the Bundesliga build to a return over the weekend, and have also assisted NHS England with their testing needs. They have also worked with food delivery service Deliveroo in Hong Kong.
“These tests do not take away any stock from the NHS,” Avi Lasarow, the CEO of Prenetics, tells The Independent. “We are a private consortium. As part of the consortium, we have provided to the NHS. To be very clear, the NHS and government have a strategy which is to build a super laboratory infrastructure. So we now know there are 3 super laboratories – one of them, for example, is in Milton Keynes. That’s how the public health England approach is.
“The volume, capacity and scale has been taking place and increasing on a daily basis. Of course as a company, if we were asked to provide any preference to NHS that would be the first priority. But naturally we are not taking away any NHS capacity as it stands.”
The company, along with its group associates and suppliers, have been working with the Premier League for a number of weeks as officials set about putting in robust measures to ensure the safety and welfare of clubs and, going forward, match officials and those needed on site to put on games behind closed doors. The process of acquiring samples for testing is straightforward, and the results available inside 48 hours and accessible by clubs via a secure online portal.
“There are two parts to the testing process. The first part is the collection of the sample. The second is the analytical checking process in the laboratory that takes place. Quite often there is confusion that one thinks the collection piece is actually the test itself which is not the case.
“What we offer as a company, which is aligned with what is being done with the NHS, is we use a collection methodology where we take a sample from the individual’s back of their throat as well as directly afterward within their nose – one cm within the lower nasal package. Those swabs are put into a chain of custody process which then gets sent back to our laboratory who then conducts the laboratory analytical process.
“Any number of swabs that we are using as part of the private initiative does not take away from supply chain resources and demands issues that have been experienced more generally.
Once the process is completed we then deliver those results through a secure ISO 27001 platform to deliver the results to the various stakeholders as directed by our clients. We produce results within 48 hours of receipt of the sample.”
The cost to the Premier League for Prenetics’s services is thought to be around £4million. And while the accuracy of the tests are not 100 per cent, it is high enough to meet UK government standards.