Working in partnership with NHS trusts, universities and medical research organisations, the UK government will launch the COVID-19 National Diagnostic Research and Evaluation Platform (CONDOR), which will evaluate the accuracy and performance of new coronavirus diagnostic tests.

CONDOR is to be funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), UK Research and Innovation, Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation. It will be headed by Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, the University of Manchester and the University of Oxford, alongside other organisations and universities.

It will aim to act as a single, unified national route to evaluate the accuracy of new tests in hospitality and other care setting and as a means of determining which tests could be most valuable for the NHS. A hospital-based arm of CONDOR will assess between 10 and 20 new coronavirus tests that have been identified as being high priority, including Abbott’s ID NOW.

University of Oxford associate professor and NIHR Community Healthcare MedTech and IVD Co-operative deputy director Gail Hayward said: “Right now, there’s a critical gap in how we road-test new diagnostics for COVID-19. While a new diagnostic test might work well in a lab under controlled conditions, there are many different factors that could make it less accurate when you take that test out of the lab and into the real world”.

“By robustly evaluating these diagnostics in health and care settings, the CONDOR programme will help the government and clinicians to understand the real-world accuracy of these tests in patients presenting with COVID-19 symptoms in the NHS.”

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