By Kristy Dorsey

Omega Diagnostics has signed the first customer for its laboratory service based on the Covid-19 ELISA antibody test developed in partnership by the Scottish company and Bedfordshire-based Mologic.

Screen4, which provides testing services to the aviation, petrochemical, occupational health and consumer markets in the UK and abroad, has signed an initial three-year contract with Omega.

Headquartered in Alva, Omega Diagnostics announced the creation of the laboratory testing service at its facility in Cambridgeshire in January after the Mologic ELISA antibody test failed to gain the levels of market traction initially anticipated.

READ MORE: Omega opens Covid antibody test lab

Antibody tests determine whether a person’s immune system has developed the capacity to fight off the virus, either through previous infection or vaccination. ELISA tests must be sent away to a lab to procure results, as opposed to lateral flow tests which work like a home pregnancy test by producing a result within minutes.

Speaking after Omega released its interim results in October, finance director Kieron Harbinson said the Mologic ELISA test was getting “squeezed out” between similar lab tests from larger competitors that can run on much higher volume equipment, and a broader market preference for lateral flow tests. As a “mitigating strategy”, Omega is offering the ELISA testing service to private practitioners.

READ MORE: Omega adds staff at its Alva HQ as Covid test production gears up

David Grouse, managing director of Screen4, said the company was “delighted” to be working with Omega on this project: “The simple, usable nature of this product, particularly with regards to a properly CE marked self-collection sample kit for home use, is a major step forward in helping people understand their current status with regards to the virus.”

Omega is working with Mologic on other Covid tests using lateral flow technology, and is also part of the UK Rapid Test Consortium (UK-RTC). Omega shares closed yesterday’s trading down a penny at 89p.