AN ALVA-BASED medical firm has expanded to assist the UK-wide fight against Covid-19.

The Omega Diagnostics Group, based at Ceteris' Hillfoots Business Village, will support the government-backed development of a coronavirus lateral flow antibody test.

It is understood the test will determine whether people have developed immunity after contracting the virus, which forced businesses to close and sent the nation into lockdown.

The company signed a memorandum of understanding with three other companies from across the UK, along with the University of Oxford, to form the UK Rapid Test Consortium.

And it is thanks to efforts from local partners – landlords Ceteris and Howdens at Alloa Trade Centre – that a laboratory was quickly set up for the medical firm at Hillfoots Business Village.

The lab space was created in an adjoining unit to Omega Diagnostics' large Alva worldwide base in only a few days.

It followed an announcement on Monday, April 20, that the firm will make up to 46,000 coronavirus antibody tests a day on behalf of London-based biotech firm Mologic.

With a material transfer agreement, Mologic was allowed to access Omega's Littleport facility in Cambridgeshire to manufacture its ELISA test.

Only a week later, 16 staff moved into the quickly-built Alva premises and Omega announced that it had certification-marked Mologic's first generation ELISA1 antibody test for Covid-19.

The test will be used on patient samples sent by hospitals or GPs, ensuring that the test complies with EU regulations.

Colin King, chief operating officer at Omega Diagnostics, said: "I would like to thank Ceteris and Howdens for the speed of response to our request to fit out additional lab space.

"This was truly exceptional and has allowed us to be positioned to commence production of Covid-19 tests and meet our initial orders."

Shares in the medical firm surged by almost 700 per cent in April, it is understood, due to the importance of the work.

Angela Ogilvie, operations director at Ceteris, added: "I am so pleased that we at Ceteris have been able to support with constructing the new laboratory.

"It's great to be positively contributing in these uncertain times and to see the how effectively and quickly we worked together with Omega Diagnostics and Howdens."

Steven Dalgleish, maintenance manager at Ceteris, was managing the development project and was "proud to have played a small part" in the fight against coronavirus.

He said: "I would especially like to thank George, Johnny and Chris who were the guys who pulled this off for us.

"They're based at Howdens' Alloa depot in Alloa in the Trade Centre."