Francis Crick Institute sets up coronavirus laboratory for NHS staff testing
Scientists hope to analyse 3000 tests this week
05 April, 2020 — By Tom Foot
The Crick is Somers Town
A LABORATORY in the Francis Crick Institute is being use to test NHS staff for coronavirus.
The “reliable testing” service in the Crick, Somers Town, is currently reserved for “high priority” health workers at University College Hospital in Euston Road.
Test results can be returned within 24 hours meaning staff can tell quickly whether they can safely return to work.
“Testing is an essential part of the national effort to tackle the spread of COVID-19. We wanted to use our facilities and expertise to help support NHS staff on the front line who are battling this virus,” said Sir Paul Nurse, Director of the Crick.
“Institutes like ours are coming together with a Dunkirk spirit – small boats that collectively can have a huge impact on the national endeavour.”
The £700million Institute estimates that scientists will this week be analysing 500 tests a day or 3000 a week. In the longer term, researchers are aiming for 2000 a day. UCLH dental nurses from the Royal National ENT and Eastman Dental Hospitals have been brought-in to swab the NHS workers.
UCLH chief executive Marcel Levi said: “While the service is for a highly targeted group of staff at the moment, it already is a real boost.
We have been able to get staff back into work who would otherwise be required to self-isolate. As the service ramps up, and more staff can get back to work, we will see the difference it makes.”