AN East Lancashire science firm says it has created tests for coronavirus which dramatically speed up the process – but it needs government help to get it rolled out.

Burnley-based Eluceda Ltd has created technology that detects the virus quicker, rather than the antibody testing done at present, but it needs a specialist lab to demonstrate the test works.

The new technology will take just 20 minutes as opposed to three days for the results to get back, according to the company.

Eluceda founder and scientist Dr Ian Eastwood said: “This is a cheap electrode test to find the virus and not the antibodies, which the Government has purchased.

“The centralised testing that is available now is too slow, as the tests have to be sent away and results come back too late, and the antibody test is simply not working.

“We can start the validation work in two to three weeks, but we need a new lab to do this in.

“This test is portable and does not need to be used in just one specialist testing place.

“We have done our research with small fragments of the coronavirus nucleic acid sequence in our labs, but we need to take this further with the full virus.”

Eluceda also says it can have the product developed and ready to use in just three months.

Mr Eastwood said: “So, we need Public Health England to get behind us and support us because we are still a small company and don’t have all the facilities, but we can show them what we have created and that it works.

“The test is similar to the one currently being used, but ours uses electrodes to test for the virus.

“The test for antibodies is weak because they are seeing too many false results, and even it if is working well they will not see the antibodies in the test until a week or two after you get the virus or any symptoms, and by then you have probably infected others."

Eluceda anticipate 20 patients can be tested by one lab technician in just one hour.

Managing director Matthew Harte said: “Our key expertise is testing for very small amounts of substances (in parts per million) and use that extensively for testing that things like alcoholic drinks are not counterfeit as well as testing for bacteria and viruses."