Randox, the Northern Ireland diagnostics company which has developed a rapid test to identify Covid-19, has confirmed it is no longer selling its coronavirus home-testing kits directly to the public.
The Co Antrim company had previously sold the home-testing kits, which can be used to collect upper respiratory specimens, online priced at £120.
But it said because of “critical” demand it had “volunteered a significant element” of its Covid-19 testing capacity to assist the UK government in its response to the coronavirus crisis and is no longer taking any new orders to supply home-testing kits to the public.
The company said: “In the short to medium term Randox will continue to ramp up capacity and aim to support our private customer base, though initially the availability of kits for private use will be relatively limited.
“As additional capacity becomes available then we will aim to provide Covid-19 testing more broadly, and will advise accordingly.”
Randox is currently working with the UK government to develop a new Covid-19 testing programme which will be offered to all NHS staff, including healthcare workers in Northern Ireland.
The company said it was providing a “high volume” of home sample collection kits and laboratory testing to the NHS.
Dr Peter FitzGerald, founder and chief executive of Randox, said its facilities were now “operational for Covid-19 testing” and the company’s plans to ramp up extensively in the coming weeks would create new jobs for laboratory and support staff.
According to Randox its coronavirus testing kits will help NHS staff to eliminate any uncertainty over whether they may or may not have contracted Covid-19 and once they test negative they are then able to return to work.
According to Dr Fitzgerald the first Randox test kits have already been sent to the London ambulance service.