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SETsquared Southampton company racing to contain Ebola

SETsquared Southampton company racing to contain Ebola

High-tech British company Primerdesign Ltd, a spin-off company from the University of Southampton and a Southampton SETsquared member, has developed a fast and simple PrimerDesign Founder Jim Wicksdiagnostic test solution specific to the 2014 Ebola outbreak.

With the current epidemic of Ebola virus in West Africa, Primerdesign are racing to provide an easy-to-use, affordable solution for screening suspect Ebola patients.

“Accurate diagnostics is essential in controlling an outbreak like Ebola.  There is an urgent need for rapid testing to screen suspected patients and people travelling in and out of the region,” explains Dr Jim Wicks, Managing Director of Primerdesign. “Our test is quick, affordable and easy to perform,” he adds.

The kit detects the DNA finger print of the Ebola Virus.  It means that even minute quantities of the disease can be detected in the early stages allowing for pre-emptive healthcare intervention.

Primerdesign Ltd, which is part of the university business incubator collaboration SETsquared, has finished development work in the last few days and is meeting with the World Health Organisation to discuss plans to possibly put large numbers of these tests in to the front line in West Africa as quickly as possible.

Reflecting on the impact SETsquared’s support has had on Primer Design’s growth Jim Wicks said: “SETsquared gave us the stability and platform to give it a shot as a company, and its business review panels provided the discipline and focus that turned us into a professional organisation.

“SETsquared’s advice and mentoring were really useful, and helped us to establish ourselves as a professionally- run organisation. SETsquared helped us to knock our business plan into shape, and to be disciplined and focus on staying afloat at that early stage. The mentoring helped us to hone in on what was important, which was generating revenue.”


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