Late on Friday, HuffPost UK revealed that the UK is looking to use Avacta’s product as a replacement for tests made by the US company Innova, which delivers results in 30 minutes.
Avacta’s, instead, releases results after between five and ten minutes.
The government has spent around £1bn on Innova’s tests.
It is understood that the Avacta rapid kits could play a key part in the so-called ‘Operation Moonshot’ to reopen public places such as theatres, clubs and cinemas.
The diagnostics firm said the assay in question was an anterior nasal swab test, not a saliva-based test as media reports asserted.
Last week, the AIM-listed company reported its tests delivered 96.7% sensitivity and 100% specificity, after analysing first clinical data on 30 positive patients and 26 negative individuals.
It is now progressing to a full clinical validation with a larger number of patient samples to obtain a CE mark for the assay for professional use, so it can bring it to market in Europe around the end of the first quarter this year.
In the UK, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is a potential customer and partner in the roll out of such a validated test.
While Avacta continues to be in dialogue with the DHSC and with other organisations in the UK and abroad, it is prioritising the full clinical validation of its rapid antigen test as a pre-requisite for CE marking and broad commercialisation.
Shares advanced 13% to 206.1p in early deals.