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8 July 2020

Smiths Detection today announces that it has collaborated with Attomarker Ltd, a multiplex blood-testing technology company spun out of the University of Exeter, to help produce a robust and accurate COVID-19 antibody-testing device that could represent an evolution in rapid and precise COVID-19 antibody testing. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has already approved Attomarker’s Triple Antibody Test for NHS use in the UK.

The Smiths Detection team has been working alongside Attomarker since April on the design and performance of the device and has manufactured 10 pre-production units, with the ability to ramp up volume according to demand.

Attomarker’s Triple Antibody Test device is a portable, desktop, antibody-testing device designed to provide laboratory-standard results in any environment. It delivers rapid, accurate, quantitative results in just seven minutes – compared with up to 72 hours for tests that require to be sent away for laboratory analysis.

The result of a trial at St Thomas’ Hospital in London – published this week in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s journal Analyst – shows that the Attomarker Triple Antibody Test delivers a sensitivity of up to 96% in detecting COVID-19 antibodies, including in patients who have previously presented false negatives.[i] This is a significant improvement on recently announced tests, which range between 83.9% - 93.9% - though not with real world patients.[ii],[iii]

A developer and manufacturer of leading-edge threat-detection equipment for security industries, Smiths Detection frequently partners with companies and governments to develop equipment that is both highly accurate in detection and offers the highest standard of technical performance.

Commenting on Smiths Detection’s involvement in the project, Smiths Detection President Roland Carter said: “The Smiths Detection team was able to take the current designs of the existing product and make enhancements that will contribute not only to its improved performance and robustness, but also the ease at which it can be produced.

“The success we have seen so far in this project is a testament to the high-standard research that the team is able to achieve, but also its agility and flexibility to pick up a project and deliver results. Not just from the perspective of our engineers and scientists, but also in terms of the supply chain, manufacturing and quality.”


Attomarker partnership


[i] A. Shaw et al. Analyst. Real-world evaluation of a novel technology for quantitative simultaneous antibody detection against multiple SARS-CoV-2 antigens in a cohort of patients presenting with COVID-19 syndrome (July 2020). Available at: [Last accessed: July 2020)

[ii] Public Health England. Evaluation of Roche Elecsys AntiSARS-CoV-2 serology assay for the detection of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies (May 2020). Available at: [Last accessed: July 2020]

[iii] Public Health England. Evaluation of the Abbott SARS-CoV-2 IgG for the detection of anti-SARSCoV-2 antibodies  (May 2020). Available at: [Last accessed: July 2020]



  • Attomarker’s technology uses a multiplex platform that tests simultaneously for multiple clinically relevant biomarkers against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Attomarker tests for three virus proteins (Spike 1, Spike 2 & N) and three classes of antibodies (IgM, IgG and IgA), giving a more powerful profile of the patient’s immune response to COVID-19. This could help validate a COVID-19 vaccine when a viable candidate completes development. The Triple Antibody Test device is being manufactured at Smiths Detection’s site at Hemel Hempstead.
  • Smiths Detection, part of Smiths Group, is a global leader in threat detection and screening technologies for aviation, ports and borders, defence and urban security markets. Our experience and history across more than 40 years at the frontline enables us to deliver the solutions needed to protect society from the threat and illegal passage of explosives, prohibited weapons, contraband, toxic chemicals and narcotics.
  • Attomarker Ltd. is a spin-out company from the University of Exeter. Its focus is the development of multiplex blood-testing technology, networked via the Cloud, helping health services, NGOs, governments and consumers monitor and manage infectious and non-infectious diseases. Attomarker Ltd. has been shortlisted for the Longitude Prize, is featured in the Science Museum’s Wellcome Galleries and was winner of the Oxford Biotech Network’s ‘One to Watch Award’ 2019.


Media Contacts

Natasha Perfect
Global Director Communications
+44 (0)7583 586263

FTI Consulting
+44 (0)7999653523

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