In a bid to relieve pressure on England’s medical health service NHS — the London and Berlin-based startup Medbelle is offering private kits at cost price – with the option for people to additionally “sponsor” tests for key workers and people in need. The startup also aims to increase the availability of Covid-19 testing and help people learn more about the disease.
Founded in 2016 by Daniel Kolb and Leander de Laporte, Medbelle is a digital healthcare provider offering an “end-to-end platform” for medical procedures, mostly in cosmetic and orthopaedic surgery. Amidst the COVID-19 concerns, the medtech startup has announced to be working towards supporting the UK healthcare system in the fight against COVID-19.
COVID-19 home tests! How will it work?
Medbelle will be offering private COVID-19 test kits at a cost price of £225 (nearly €253). This price involves the manufacturing and distribution costs of the kits and lab testing. And, it is limited to two tests per person. Also, there is an option for people to get sponsor tests for workers in crucial fields and people who are in need. The tests will be posted via Royal Mail or can be couriered within London for an additional cost.
Already, Medbelle has provided free tests to surgeons redeployed to the NHS. Now, it is asking people who believe they are at an increased risk or live with someone who is at risk or those who are working in frontline and critical jobs and carers to apply for a free test. Applications for the test will be assessed by a medical advisor and tests will be conducted based on the level of risk of the applicant.
WHO-approved test kits
The digital hospital’s COVID-19 test uses a method of analysis approved and recommended by the WHO (World Health Organisation) known as RT-PCR. The test involves taking a swab from inside the mouth and nose and sending the same to test for the virus. It is the same as the test used in the NHS. The lab is UKAS-certified and has additionally applied for specific COVID-19 certification with Public Health England and UKAS.
“We have seen that even our doctors have a hard time accessing Covid-19 tests, despite fighting on the frontline,” said Medbelle founder Leander de Laporte. “To fight Covid-19 effectively, we need more tests to understand how the disease spreads and which measures we need to take. We are not doing this to make a profit; we want to do our best to support the NHS in these difficult times; to expand testing capacity and thereby add critical resources where they are needed.”
In April 2019, the startup was in news for building the world’s first digital hospital. Further, the UK startup also raised $7 million (nearly €6 million) Series A funding to accelerate the digitisation of patients. For those interested, more information about the tests can be found on their official website.
Main image picture credits: Medbelle
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