Edinburgh University delivers 1,000 COVID-19 tests per day for NHS

Scientists, laboratory space and equipment from the University of Edinburgh are being used to support the NHS’s testing efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

A pool of 25 scientists from across the University – selected from more than 750 volunteers – are helping NHS Lothian staff deliver up to 1000 additional tests per day. The testing takes place in the laboratories of the University’s Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine (IGMM) at the Western General Hospital.

Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Mathieson, said:

“The University of Edinburgh is making numerous contributions to the response to COVID-19 and I am delighted to see this latest example.

“Our collaboration with the NHS will always be vitally important to us and we are pleased to be helping to bolster testing capacity. My sincere thanks to everyone involved.”

Tests will be to diagnostic standards, fully integrated into NHS systems and under NHS Lothian oversight, with results ready and available directly to clinical staff within 24 hours. The University is also supplying key reagants – special chemicals to detect the presence of COVID-19 – and testing machines to increase capacity.

Mr Jim Crombie, Deputy Chief Executive for NHS Lothian, said:

“The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh was one of the first two national launch centres for COVID-19 testing in Scotland earlier this year, and we have increased our test capacity considerably since then.

“The partnership with the University of Edinburgh enables us to increase capacity even further, which will support the Health Board’s requirements but also contribute to national COVID-19 virus test resilience.”