OMEGA Diagnostics shares jumped 77 per cent after it announced it is part of the UK rapid test consortium working to jointly develop and manufacture an antibody test.

It is aimed at determining whether people have developed immunity after contracting Covid-19.

The Scottish biotech company was the biggest riser on Alternative Investment Market, the London Stock Exchange’s international market for smaller growing companies on Thursday, with shares at 20p, on the news.

Alva-based Omega is part of the consortium led by Abingdon Health and which also includes Oxford University, Bridgend based BBI Solutions and CIGA Healthcare, based in Northern Ireland and will work as part of the Government’s five pillar national testing strategy for Covid-19.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Health Secretary promises 100,000 tests a day to end lockdown

Omega’s expertise is in creating tests that allow decentralised - non-lab based - testing in the community.

Its test kits are used for managing patients with advanced HIV and also have tests for levels of antibodies that indicate food intolerance and allergy.

The agreement is for an initial period of six months. Once the Covid-19 rapid test reaches design freeze, then the specification and standard operating procedures will be shared with each party of the consortium to enable manufacturing and assembly to be undertaken at each site, including at Omega’s manufacturing facility, according to capability.

Colin King, Omega chief executive, said: “We are delighted to be part of this consortium and to support the Scottish and UK Governments’ efforts to combat the Coronavirus pandemic and look forward to using Omega’s manufacturing knowledge and capabilities in supporting and furthering this objective.”

FinnCap analyists said there is “potential to unlock significant near-term value”, adding: “An antibody test would allow individuals who were previously ill with Covid-19 symptoms, but were never tested for the disease, to return to work with the knowledge that they had built up an immunity.”

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