COVID-19 testing firm invests £20m to ramp up kit production

Richard Hughes, left, and chief development officer Christian Stephenson

A North West COVID-19 testing operation has invested £20m to ramp up production.

Testing and diagnostics company Medusa 19 is increasing production of a 10-minute Rapid Saliva Protein Test (RSPT) that indicates immune response to COVID-19.

Established by Richard Hughes, founder of Zeus Capital, and Mahmud Kamani, both founder shareholders of, the significant investment has enabled production of 2.5m tests, retailing at £29.99 per test, ready to be distributed to UK and international companies.

With many businesses looking to implement affordable organisation-wide testing to monitor viral outbreaks and ensure the workplace is safe for employees to remain in, Medusa 19 is planning to ramp up production to 50 million tests each month at its manufacturing site in the Wirral.

Richard Hughes said: “When a second lockdown was announced, the Prime Minister emphasised the important role rapid tests will play in helping to safely ease COVID-19 restrictions.

“Yet, it’s becoming clear that the onus for workplace testing is being placed on companies themselves, particularly given the strain on the current national testing system.

“If an employee is suspected of having, or diagnosed with COVID-19, otherwise healthy staff are having to isolate until tested.

“With tests proving difficult to obtain or results taking days to process, many businesses are left to struggle with reduced operational capacity and protecting employees. Rapid, affordable and quick-to-scale testing models that are readily available now are going to be key for many businesses, especially in manufacturing, construction or food production.

“We can’t risk supply of these tests not meeting demand, so Medusa has invested significantly in production, so that a solution is available now to help keep these businesses open.”

The RSPT indicates immune response to infection from SARS-CoV-2, the virus underlying COVID-19, by testing for the presence of IgM and IgG antibodies in saliva. As these antibodies are identified earlier in saliva than blood, the RSPT can indicate an immune response to current or recent infection.

The non-invasive test returns results on the spot within 10 minutes.

It has already helped a Bolton manufacturing site remain open, by confirming employees were free from the virus after a colleague had to self-isolate with COVID-19.

Other organisations implementing roll-outs of the RSPT include drug and alcohol screening business Lemon Cherry.

Medusa 19 also recently launched a three-week trial with Madrid’s public universities endorsed by the city’s vice president, Ignacio Aguado, which will see up to 1,500 students and staff tested.

Aguado intends to roll out the RSPT for mass testing across the city following the trial.