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Blood-testing startup Thriva just won a $80 million contract with the UK to roll out COVID-19 antibody testing

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Covid-19

  • The UK government has awarded health startup Thriva an $80 million contract to help scale up COVID-19 testing. 
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson has faced extensive criticism over the past few months for failing to deliver his much-promised “world-beating” test-and-trace system.
  • Thriva is to oversee the rollout of at-home antibody testing, which tell you if you have previously been infected with the coronavirus.
  • Business Insider reported earlier this year that Thriva had been drafted into government talks alongside fellow health company Babylon and Amazon. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The UK government has awarded at-home blood-testing startup Thriva a £61.8 million ($80 million) contract to help scale up COVID-19 testing capacity. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has faced extensive criticism over the past few months for failing to deliver his much-promised “world beating” test-and-trace system, with senior scientists claiming the scheme had so far had a “marginal impact”. 

Thriva is a commercial, privately owned startup best known for offering at-home blood tests to help determine a person’s risk for diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions. 

A source told Business Insider last week that Thriva had been awarded a contract amounting to $5 million per month to provide the UK with COVID-19 antibody tests. These mostly involve taking a blood sample at home, then posting the sample off to a lab to analyze for antibodies. The test shows whether a person has previously been infected with the coronavirus, but not whether they are currently sick.

Data published by Trussell on Tuesday, an online platform monitoring government contracts, confirmed the contract. Thriva was awarded £61.8 million (around $80 million) to help improve capacity. 

According to a public notice, Thriva has been enlisted to provide an “end-to-end serology testing service … working with a network of partners aimed at delivering [a] supply of the testing kit components.”

Thriva is expected to oversee the building, shipping, return, and processing of these tests. As with its other blood-testing kits, Thriva will likely partner a lab or labs that will actually process the tests.

The news comes several months after Thriva, as well as other private providers, rolled out a £59 antibody test to the general public, but pulled the product at the behest of UK medical authorities.

Business Insider previously reported that Thriva had engaged in government talks alongside fellow health startup Babylon and e-commerce giant Amazon. 

The news comes shortly after it was revealed the government had also paid biotech firm Oxford Nanopore Technologies almost $150 million for a shipment of fast-response COVID-19 tests. 

Business Insider approached Thriva and the Department of Health and Social Care for comment.