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ReCoVa-19 mobile lab makes social events so much safer

ReCoVa-19 has helped build a mobile laboratory which is able to test for Covid-19 at live events using the company’s own 30-minute testing technology.

The back of the ReCoVa-19 van. Picture: Keith Heppell
The back of the ReCoVa-19 van. Picture: Keith Heppell

The vehicle is the result of a collaboration between Novacyt, a PCR test manufacturer based in Camberley, Surrey, Sandwich-based Wren Healthcare which delivers patient support services and is led by nurses, and Milton-based Cambridge Clinical Laboratories.

“ReCoVa-19 started last May,” says director Clive Minihan. “If you have a Covid-19 test in Boots you’re using our software, as are Well Pharmacy, CityDoc... we’re in 45 locations across the UK.”

Organisers of live events face logistical challenges in terms of registering attendees, processing tests and reporting the data. ReCoVa-19 has developed a secure web app which removes the administrative burden for organisers, and has proved a game-changer in initial trials.

“The nurses take swabs from people outside the mobile vehicle,” says Clive, “and use a barcode scanner using our app to register a person. The sample is then tested in the van – they have six machines for the tests in there.

“That’ll go up to nine soon, we’re just doing the validation now,” says Dr Anthony Cooke. “Each machine does 16 tests in an hour.

“The labs are created with Novacyt who have been fundamental in providing testing kits since the beginning of this crisis. We’ll be running the lab – once we have this one up and running we could do a lot more for festivals, for work or for travel.”

The mobile lab took four weeks to build. ReCoVa-19 is able to work with Novacyt to build more of the trailers as demand comes in.

“It became very obvious very quickly that managing the data in a secure and effective way is the key to volume testing,” adds Anthony. “Clive had had experience of doing medical and healthcare before so we got involved very quickly when the pandemic began, and it’s grown from there.”

From the web portal you download the app via an invitation from the test provider, and all your information conforms to GDPR plus all other public health reporting requirements.

Dr Anthony Cooke, left, and Clive Minihan in the ReCoVa-19 mobile lab. Picture: Keith Heppell
Dr Anthony Cooke, left, and Clive Minihan in the ReCoVa-19 mobile lab. Picture: Keith Heppell

“We do testing then report the result to the app and the app gives you the result,” Anthony concludes. “All data uploaded to Public Health England daily. It’s all very slick.”

As restrictions are relaxed this month, many younger adults will still be awaiting their first vaccine dose. At this stage, lateral flow testing on admission to events is likely to be a key element of minimising risk. However, event organisers will be responsible for reporting this testing data to Public Health England, and this raises a significant administrative challenge. With ReCoVa-19’s new technology, attendees will download the app prior to the event and enter all details that will be required to attend the event and by Public Health England. The event administrator will also have access to the software, so when the attendee arrives and takes a lateral flow test, they can quickly and easily associate the test to the right user account.

“It makes life a lot easier for event administrators as the tests are immediately registered to the right details, so you don’t need to worry about losing track of whose test is whose on a busy day,” explains Clive.

Reporting the results to Public Health England is also much easier with the app, as the software will submit the data automatically on the evening of the event. The app is fully GDPR compliant, meaning that event organisers can be confident they are meeting all legal requirements regarding personal data.

ReCoVa-19’s technology can be used to support private gatherings such as weddings, as well as larger events such as conferences, sports events, and theatre and concert performances.

“We’re pleased to help bring back some of these much-awaited events to the calendar,” says Clive. “Ultimately, event organisers will need an efficient system for testing, so they can ensure their event runs smoothly while being as safe as possible and complying with any relevant requirements.”

Dependable Forces, a leading event health and safety company who specialise in Covid-19 compliance and testing, says the app has proved of great value to them.

“We trialled the technology at a small event and it made a remarkable difference to our speed and efficiency,” says Alistair Graham, CEO of the company. “The admissions process was much simpler, and the automatic reporting was a particular advantage as we didn’t have to worry about that after the event.”

Wren Healthcare, a UK registered healthcare company led by nurses, has also found the app useful for live events.

“In our work we perform testing at corporate gatherings and the app makes the process run a lot more smoothly,” says Iain Campbell, managing director of the company.

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