Companies working behind the scenes to speed up coronavirus screening and testing rollout

Photofab in St Neots is just one company working behind the scenes to support the testing programme

Photofab in St Neots is just one company working behind the scenes to support the testing programme - Credit: Archant

Companies from across East Anglian - including a firm in St Neots - are working behind the scenes to support the country’s fight against coronavirus.

Ziath Ltd is a global leader in manufacturing instruments for tracking large numbers of scientific sample tubes, based near Granta Park Research Campus, just outside Cambridge.

This small business is now gearing up to produce its tube readers faster than ever before. That’s because Ziath tube scanners are a critical part of the procedure for testing Covid-19 samples in the laboratory.

The company has said: “With so many samples arriving at the Government’s new testing laboratories in Milton Keynes, Alderley Park and Glasgow, together with Cambridge University labs switching to Covid-19 testing, keeping track of all these samples is a major headache for scientists.

“By using tubes for these tests which have a small 2D barcode, like a QR code, on the base, scientists can keep track of each patient’s individual swab and their test results, according to the company.

“With the UK government alone reaching for 100,000 tests per day, delivering the ability to track these samples is clearly crucial to the success of the Covid-19 screening campaign.”

Ziath says it would not be able to achieve the fast turn around and scale up in their business to meet this challenge without the unwavering support of their key suppliers – many of whom are also small East Anglian businesses who are experts in their field and Photofab Ltd, in St Neots, is one such key supplier.

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Established in 1971, Photofab is a world leader in chemically etched metal components, having designed and produced more than 70,000 different parts since it started.

Steve Knight, Ziath’s commercial director, said: “Without trusted suppliers such as Photofab in St Neots and our wiring loom supplier, Powerwise Ltd in West Wratting, we would not be able to respond to this global crisis as quickly as we have. “Thanks to their efforts and support we are now building and delivering tube scanners for Covid-19 testing not just in the UK, but to Norway, Israel, Germany, Austria, and through a United Nations programme, to Myanmar, Mongolia, Thailand, Vietnam, Nepal, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Republic of Congo, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Cuba, and El Salvador.”