London Testing Alliance: two laboratory sites go live
London’s leading life science and academic institutions have united to respond in an unprecedented way to the coronavirus pandemic by ramping up diagnostic testing capacity for the UK, and this week two of the laboratories went live at Imperial College London and the Health Services Laboratories partnership with UCL.
Imperial College London
Imperial’s contribution to the Testing Alliance is supported by Imperial Projects and will be based on an expansion of the College’s existing in-house testing capability.
It builds on earlier success, where Imperial researchers led by Professor Paul Freemont were able to repurpose an existing high-throughput robotic platform as a way to help NHS diagnostic labs avoid bottlenecks caused by increased demand for reagents. The platform is reagent-agnostic, providing flexibility to respond to supply disruptions, is highly scalable, and does not compete for access to commercial kits.
Health Services Laboratories in partnership with University College London
Up to 10,000 COVID-19 tests a day will be carried out by UCL in the partnership.
The Department of Health and Social care made the announcement today saying,
‘There is … a continued increase in testing capacity, with two new London University laboratories going live this week; HSL & UCL (Health Services Laboratories in partnership with University College London) which began testing on Tuesday 15 December and Imperial College which began testing Wednesday 16 December. The labs form part of DHSC’s new partnership agreement with a London Testing Alliance of four university labs, which will increase testing capacity by tens of thousands over the winter.’
About the Alliance
The Testing Alliance, set up by MedCity, brings together world-leading universities, healthcare institutes, industry and pathology service providers. They Alliance will use untapped resources and build on existing infrastructure to offer at least 20,500 more tests a day for COVID-19 over the coming months and into the new year.
Through the Alliance, Health Service Laboratories in partnership with UCL, King’s Health Partners, Imperial College London and Queen Mary University of London will use existing university and hospital laboratories and launch new laboratories to deliver large-scale diagnostic capabilities. London universities are also involved in the development and manufacture of a potential vaccine.