- Disease test kit supplier Omega Diagnostics posted a first-half loss after the pandemic hurt sales at its food intolerance division.

Pre-tax losses for the six months through September amounted to £1.80 million, compared to losses of £0.33 million year-on-year.

Revenue fell 29% to £3.16 million, with food intolerance sales dropping 38% to £2.53 million.

Reductions in the division were seen in most geographic regions but particularly in North America and Europe.

'We have however seen recent signs of recovery with double digit growth in October and November, as compared to the same months last year,' Omega Diagnostics said.

On its outlook, the company said it expected to achieve a significantly improved performance in the second half.

Interim chairman William Rhodes said the company's first-half performance was 'within the boundaries of sensitivity that we have been monitoring'.

'Whilst we cannot be certain what decisions, and the related impact, might be taken by governments around the world to deal with the pandemic in the short-term, we remain confident that our food intolerance business is resilient and positioned for growth as some degree of normality returns,' Rhodes said.

'Achieving self-test regulatory approval in China for Food Detective is a significant milestone that underpins confidence, and we expect our renewed focus on the US market to bear fruit in the next financial year.'

Rhodes said Omega was particularly pleased that its Visitect CD4 advanced disease test for HIV had received WHO prequalification in August.

He also noted the company had opportunities in both antigen testing and antibody testing for Covid-19.

'We are very encouraged by recent news with a number of vaccine candidates demonstrating efficacy in producing an immune response as we believe testing will play a crucial role in any vaccine deployment,' Rhodes said.

'We continue to make progress to significantly increase lateral flow test capacity in our manufacturing site in Alva and are on target to reach a production capacity of 500,000 tests a week by the end of December.'

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