News round-up (May 21)

man looking at online news headlines
21st May 2021 about a 3 minute read

It’s been a relatively slow news week for health and social care technology and innovation. But we’ve scanned the internet and found some stories we think you might be interested in …

UK launches world-first COVID-19 booster study

Thousands of volunteers will receive a booster COVID-19 vaccine in a new clinical trial launching this week, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced.

The Cov-Boost study, backed by £19.3 million of government funding through the Vaccines Taskforce, will be run at 16 National Institute for Health Research sites and is being led by University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust. 

It will be the first in the world to provide data on the impact of a third dose on patients’ immune responses.

Amazon “in talks” to launch at-home medical testing service

The company is reportedly considering making an at-home COVID-19-testing kit available in June, followed later by kits for other respiratory infections and sexually transmitted diseases, according to Healthcare IT News.

Amazon’s foray into healthcare is said to have the working title ‘Amazon Diagnostics.’

In March the company secured the trademark ‘Amazon Pharmacy’ in the UK. Meanwhile in the US the Alexa app includes a home monitoring feature for carers to check in on the individual they are caring for.

Robotics and care event demonstrates world-first for assisted living technology users

Scottish Housing News reports on a robotics and social care event bringing together innovators and end-users in “a week-long burst of creativity around assistive technology.”

The event was organised by The National Robotarium, based at Heriot-Watt University, using its open assisted living laboratory, set up like a real flat with a kitchen, living room, bathroom and bedroom, which it claims as a world first.

Highlights included a demonstration of the ‘Earswitch’ which can be used to operate multiple devices using an ear muscle alone.

Q&A: The technology behind domestic COVID certification

Med-Tech Innovation interviewed Andy Reid, founder of, about its technology providing COVID certification in the UK.

He explained the technology for a ‘COVID passport’ was very different from that used to share information with an individual’s GP.

The system’s safeguards include requiring people to share information in the app with others by presenting the QR code in person, which they scan in your presence.

£100m to kick-start Wales NHS and Social Care recovery

Wales 247 reports that the Welsh government has set out plans for a £100m investment to kick-start the health and care system’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The money will go towards new equipment, staff, technology and ways of working to help improve services across primary, community and hospital care. 

Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “The pandemic saw the early and swift adoption of new technology and ways of working, I want to see health boards build on this good work.”

Indian government to set up 20 technology and R&D infrastructure centres for shared usage 

Mint website is running a story that the Indian government is looking to establish 20 technology and research and development infrastructure centres that will be shared among academics, labs, startups, and industry.

The centres—Sophisticated Analytical and Technical Help Institutes (SATHI)—will be professionally managed and will have “strong science and technology infrastructure”, financially supported by the country’s Department of Science. They are most likely to be housed in top tech and engineering schools such as the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).