Offaly company distributing rapid Covid-19 tests

Test will deliver a result to the patient following a nasal swab in just 15 minutes

Gearoid Keegan

Reporter:

Gearoid Keegan

Offaly company distributing rapid Covid-19 tests

Husband and wife team Dr Anne Cusack and Seamus Reilly run Critical Healthcare

AN Offaly company has won the distribution contract for a product which could change the face of Covid-19 testing in Ireland.

Critical Healthcare will be selling up to 7,500 rapid Covid testing kits manufactured by Swiss drugmaking giant Roche.

The antigen test will deliver a result to the patient following a nasal swab in just 15 minutes, making it much more suitable for workplaces across the health service and industry than the alternative PCR test which is carried out on people attending HSE test centres like the one in Clonminch.

Critical Healthcare is selling the Roche antigen test to GP's, nursing homes, manufacturers and other workplaces where social distancing is not possible.

Critical Healthcare managing director Seamus Reilly says about 7% of the more than 10,000 Covid PCR tests being done on a daily basis in Ireland are positive.

“That means there are about 9,000 tests that are negative and that workload is horrendous.”

Using the antigen test first would relieve the burden on the HSE test centres because only those whose antigen tests were positive would go on to take the PCR test.

“Interestingly, we're working with a film crew at the moment and they're buying loads of these because obviously as a film industry they cannot shoot with masks on and they cannot do social distancing. For them they need to ensure that every staff member is safe on a daily basis to do their shoot.”

Formerly based in Kilbeggan, Critical Healthcare employs about 35 people in a Flanagan-owned building at Kilcruttin, Tullamore and has plans to grow its business to a value of €50m.

Critical Healthcare managing director Seamus Reilly was interviewed by the Tullamore Tribune. See this week's Tullamore Tribune and Midland Tribune for the full story on this Midlands business success story.