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U.K. to Award $6.2 Billion of Virus Testing Contracts to Firms

July 3, 2020, 3:44 PM

The U.K. government is set to award 5 billion pounds ($6.2 billion) of coronavirus testing contracts to private companies as it overhauls the way it tracks Covid-19.

The tender from Public Health England, announced in a public notice, comes after Britain’s coronavirus-testing effort has been dogged by reports of missing tests and long waits for results.

The U.K. currently has the capacity to conduct about 300,000 coronavirus tests a day, a key part of its strategy to control the virus and open up its economy. Pharmaceutical giants such as GlaxoSmithKline Plc and AstraZeneca Plc already work with the government on its testing system, in partnership with public bodies.

The new framework will “support all five pillars of the U.K. testing strategy,” the tender notice said. In April, Health Secretary Matt Hancock set out five priorities for the country’s testing regime, including increasing commercial swab testing and making antibody tests more widely available.

The Department for Health and Social Care didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Joe Mayes in London at jmayes9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net

Edward Evans

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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