Midlands 'mega lab' hits one million coronavirus test mark

One million coronavirus tests have been processed at a huge new Midlands laboratory using cutting-edge testing technology.

PCR test laboratory
PCR test laboratory

Machinery including top of the range robotics are being used at the centre which opened four months ago as part of the current Test and Trace network.

It is at the heart of the UK Health Security Agency’s (UKHSA) plans for managing Covid-19, including through scaled up genome sequencing capacity.

In the coming weeks the laboratory will begin genotype assay testing to rapidly detect known virus mutations and genome sequencing to confirm known variants and identify any new mutations.

The mega lab is the biggest in the UK and has created employment for 600 new staff with about 60 per cent of them hired living within 30 miles of in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire.

UKHSA chief executive Jenny Harries said: “This milestone is a real testament to the hard work, dedication and collaboration between teams across the public sector, academia and industry.

“While the phenomenal vaccine rol lout has helped to build a wall of defence across the country, testing and isolating when needed remains a vital to controlling the spread of the virus and protecting one another.”

Students at Birmingham City University and University of Warwick have so far been offered several placements in an effort to attract them to the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and improve skills.

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