NHS England and Preventx have launched a digital-first, remote testing service for hepatitis C, which will support the NHS’ ambition to eliminate the virus ahead of the World Health Organization (WHO)’s goal of eradicating it by 2030.

The online testing portal combines Preventx’s efficient self-sampling service and specialist in-house laboratory. The new digital service has been designed and built by the company, on behalf of NHS England.

It is capable of turning around negative tests in just 48-hours, and positive tests in 72-hours, an improvement on the current NHS rates for testing, which will help speed up treatment delivery.

In addition, the use of remote diagnostics can help increase the uptake of testing in communities that don’t traditionally engage with in-person services. Anyone who has a concern about hepatitis C will be able to easily access testing, with the convenient, reliable and discrete service.

Andrew Barham, chief technology officer at Preventx, said: “At Preventx, we know how a digital-first approach to testing can help to increase access to NHS services – including amongst marginalised communities. Health inequalities are a complex issue, and whilst there are many challenges to overcome to fully address this, innovative digital services are playing a vital role in removing some of the barriers that exist.”

He continued: “Our scalable and resilient tech enables us to connect seamlessly with partner systems. Crucially, this enables us to scale and flex to meet the needs of our partners, ensuring that service users have an excellent experience.

Preventx has 15 years of experience in partnering with the NHS. Its scalable technology works seamlessly with NHS systems, allowing it to continuously adapt to the needs of health service partners and across different disease areas.

Professor Sir Stephen Powis, national medical director for NHS England, said: “I’m delighted we are on track to eliminate hepatitis C as a public health threat by 2030… As patient numbers get smaller and each remaining case becomes harder to find and cure, it’s vital we offer easy-to-access self-test kits — especially for those who have been exposed to the virus but may be reluctant to come forward.

“This latest tool will therefore be critical to ensuring more people can receive the treatment they need, or peace of mind, at the earliest opportunity.”

In 2021 Preventx expanded into Europe with a number of acquisitions in Spain and the Netherlands.