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FOCUS FEATURE


INTERNATIONAL TRADE


Taking advantage of ‘Brand UK’


The end of the UK-EU transition period ushers in a new era for international trade as Britain sets its horizons beyond Europe. Dan Robinson speaks to some of the East Midlands companies already taking advantage of ‘Brand UK’ to export successfully across the globe.


previously had it. They are sourced globally but one of Europe’s highest


A


volume developers of these Covid-19 rapid diagnostic kits is based in Derby. SureScreen Diagnostics says its tests, which take less


than 20 minutes combined to carry out and receive results, are 98% accurate. Since the summer, the antibody tests have been used


daily at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals, in London, after King’s College London found they performed “outstandingly” during examinations. “They’re very straightforward to use, which means


they’re very versatile for where they can be deployed,” says SureScreen director David Campbell. “We have a lot of top validations from global institutions


demonstrating our test is the best in the world.” As well as making a vital contribution to tackling the pandemic – many countries believe rapid testing, alongside vaccination, are needed to defeat coronavirus – the long- term benefits for SureScreen could be pivotal. The company, founded in 1996, had already earned a


solid reputation for its point-of-care tests – those providing lab-quality results within minutes of deployment – for pregnancy, illicit drug and alcohol screening. It was also on the map beyond the UK, with 40% of sales


overseas. But while four-fifths of its exports have traditionally been to the EU, Covid-19 looks set to broaden its horizons after shipping millions of the rapid tests around the world. The antibody tests have been used in 53 countries, including Germany, Spain, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, South Africa, Peru and Panama, while the antigen kits are already in more than 20 markets after launching in October.


SureScreen Diagnostics has developed rapid antibody and antigen Covid-19 tests


cross the world, businesses, universities and clinics are carrying out antigen swab tests to diagnose whether individuals are infected with coronavirus, and finger prick tests for detecting antibodies that indicate they’ve


With an increase in demand, SureScreen has been one of


the few firms to recruit during the pandemic, taking on about 40 staff to help with production – pushing headcount beyond 100 across five sites. “The Covid-19 tests have certainly expanded our


horizons,” says David. “We’re shipping a lot to South America and the Middle East, and as far as Australia, so it’s opened up new regions. “Of course, we hope these tests can be used to reduce


the infection rate, and get people back to work and enjoying normal life. “But going forward, we’ve built lots of good connections


so in the future we’ll be working with them on our wider range of unique diagnostic tests we’re bringing to market.” These include a finger prick diagnostic that identifies alcohol levels in blood within three minutes, rather than the


72 business network December 2020/January 2021


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