Business Durham has hailed a number of businesses in the county that are continuing to operate to help battle Covid-19, which includes work towards virus detection and the manufacture of personal protective equipment (PPE).

The economic development arm for County Durham has praised six firms that are continuing to work on specialist products and technologies in a bid to limit contagion and protect frontline NHS workers, four of which are located at the North East Technology Park.

REPROCELL Europe, which specialises in tools and products for stem cell and 3D cell culture research, has joined a consortium with partners in North America and Europe to develop a vaccine for Covid-19.

Nano-technology manufacturer Graphene Composites has been working on a graphene ink that can be applied to face masks and other PPE as a virus killing tool to provide added protection.

Stream Bio develops and manufactures fluorescent molecular probes used for labelling antibodies. The probes increase the sensitivity of antibody testing, enabling earlier detection. The company hopes that the probes can be used in the fight against Covid-19.

Biotechnology firm Kromek Group is recruiting a project engineer to work on the development of a mobile pathogen detection system to detect biological threats.

Joining the four NETPark companies are chemical producer INEOS and science-based technology company 3M, both with manufacturing sites in Newton Aycliffe. INEOS have opened a new production facility in Newton Aycliffe to help fight the spread of coronavirus.

3M is increasing its global output of respirators and delivering them to front line healthcare providers.

Sarah Slaven, interim managing director of Business Durham, said: “This is a challenging time for a lot of businesses in the county, but we are delighted to see some of them working to help fight the coronavirus outbreak.

“These businesses are demonstrating tremendous agility, adaptability and innovation. They have the technical knowledge, resources and the manufacturing skills to help produce much needed technology and products, which will hopefully help alleviate some of the pressure from other national suppliers and help protect the NHS.”