April 20th, 2021
The Testing team have worked tirelessly since April 2020 to build the University’s Covid-19 Testing Service. The team have dedicated long hours and endured enormous pressure, working long days into the evenings and through the weekends, to get asymptomatic testing up and running. Asymptomatic testing helps identify individuals considered to be ‘super-spreaders’ who have been infected with the virus and either display mild symptoms or none at all.
Work began in April 2020 with a pilot study carried out by the Biodiscovery Institute in partnership with Nottingham University Hospitals’ pathology labs. The aim was to streamline testing and overcome major supply chain bottlenecks such as shortages in swabs, chemicals and virus extraction reagents. Two-way sharing of resources, skills and expertise between the pathology labs and UoN teams meant each of these shortages could be bypassed successfully. Following the success of this study, a further pilot study took place in the Vet School during the summer and proved that asymptomatic testing could stop transmission chains.
In the few weeks after approval, the team made the project a functioning testing service and carried out over 3,000 tests, increasing exponentially each week. Initial testing focused on undergraduate students in halls of residence and then broadened to include frontline staff such as catering, estates, security and cleaning staff in addition to students living in halls off campus and PGR students who engage in face-to-face teaching. Following approval, the team made the project a functioning testing service in less than a month and have now carried out over 50,000 tests, with more than 1,500 people tested during the weekend after the Easter break.
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