Could Aylesbury Vale developed quick Coronavirus test be the way out of the pandemic?

The inventor believes the test could have a massive impact on bringing lockdowns to an end.

Friday, 16th October 2020, 10:26 am
Updated Friday, 16th October 2020, 10:32 am
Dr Mark Baker, a former cancer scientist at Oxford University,

The new test has the potential to detect the virus up to 2 weeks earlier than others, before symptoms show, and for people to test themselves at home as often as every day.

Test results come through on your smartphone in about 30 seconds - there are no labs involved.

This means that people will be able to self-isolate straight away if they become infected, rather than days later. This would hugely cut down the re-symptom spread of the virus, allowing the vast majority of people, businesses and events to operate without restrictions and lockdowns.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Dr Mark Baker, a former cancer scientist at Oxford University, has lived locally in Adstock for the past 15 years who has been working on the project.

Over the past two years he had been developing an artificial intelligence system to find hidden patterns in medical data, to spot new treatments, cures and diagnosis methods.

During lockdown (at home in Adstock) he applied this to a wide range of COVID-19 data, as part of an international coronavirus competition, involving hundreds of scientists and doctors trying to find the best solutions to the pandemic.

His analysis method discovered a way to diagnose COVID-19 from standard blood test results, and won the competition.

The government has allocated a grant of £262,000 towards funding the remaining work needed to get the test out to the public.

Despite this grant, the project now has to push forward to raise more cash to fund the next few months of research.

After that, they can claim the money back as part of the grant.

Since then he has designed the home test and been awarded the government grant to take this forward. (The location of the next stage of development will depend on COVID restrictions.)

Dr Baker explained that businesses, organisations and individuals can help this become reality by spreading the word and contributing, if they can, towards the initial cash needed.

He said: "We've been inspired by the online fundraiser of Bedford's 'Captain Tom', which raised a staggering £32, and I think that people will want to join in.

"Some people may want to help us get this out to health workers and vulnerable people, or to developing countries where they don't have the facilities for the current tests.

"Others may want to get the test kit for themselves, for local clubs, to keep their businesses going, or for their friends and family."

The crowdfunder allows anyone to make a donation of any size, or to pre-order test kits for £20.

And because some of the initial funds needed will be reclaimed from the grant, there is also the opportunity to make loans.

Dr Baker said: "If enough funds are raised now and the project is successful, it will make a dramatic difference this winter - to the NHS, jobs, keeping our schools open, our favourite activities and even just being able to see our friends and families - not to mention the lives saved."

Readers are encouraged to visit the fundraising page at crowdfunder.co.uk/end-covid to see more details or make a contribution, and to share it with friends and family to help create a snowball effect.

Anyone interested in making a loan should contact Beth Hawthorne directly on [email protected]