UK firm deploys germ warfare technology in hunt for mutant Covid-19 strains



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BRITISH tech firm which designs biological warfare sensors for the US military has adapted its technology todetect mutant strains of airborne Covid19 virus in hospitals, airports and shopping centres.

Kromek has received £1.25 million funding from Innovate UK to repurpose its threat detection systems.

The sensors, developed in partnership with the research arm of the US Department of Defense, are able to detect and analyse airborne pathogens using realtime DNA sequencing without the need for analysis in specialist laboratories.

A pilot will begin in April, with hopes deployment will support the safe return of visitors to public spaces, and act as an early warning system on new strains of the virus to protect against future outbreaks.

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A vehicle mounted sensor 

/ Kromek )

Chief executive Arnab Basu said:  “We are very pleased to have received backing from UKRI and Innovate UK to progress the deployment of our solution for the detection of airborne COVID-19. 

“Our system can augment the government’s Test and Trace system by enabling early identification of potential exposure to the virus while supporting the safe return of visitors to public spaces like mass transport, retail outlets and entertainment venues. 

“We also believe that the continuous monitoring with our system, which can test for a wide spectrum of viruses as well as mutations of COVID-19, has significant potential for protecting against the outbreak of pandemics in the future.”