How we’ve answered an urgent Government call for help in COVID-19 fight

Staff and postdoctoral students from the University’s College of Life Sciences have answered an urgent call to action from central Government. They will be volunteering at one of the three new COVID-19 UK Diagnostic Hubs which have been launched to further help the UK’s efforts in the fight against coronavirus.

The volunteers will join others from across the UK at the UK Biocentre in Milton Keynes. They will fulfil a number of critical roles to facilitate high volumes of testing for COVID-19, including sample processing and running qPCR based diagnostic tests.

Five qPCR machines vital in the running of COVID-19 diagnostic tests have been loaned to the Biocentre by the University. These were collected and transported from Leicester to Milton Keynes by the Coldstream Guards last week.

President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Nishan Canagarajah said: “As a global community, we are facing unprecedented circumstances and it is vital that we all come together to help and offer support wherever possible – loaning our equipment to support the national testing drive and our colleagues in the NHS is the very least we can do.

“I am immensely proud of our staff and students who are serving selflessly alongside those doctors, nurses and other vital staff that are providing care and keeping our NHS running day and night.”

As part of our drive to support the NHS during the pandemic, we have donated thousands of essential personal protection equipment (PPE) items for hospital staff. Additionally we have lent equipment to assist with processing COVID-19 diagnostic samples, worth £100,000, to the University Hospitals Leicester NHS Trust.

The Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, set out a five-pillar strategy highlighting the Government’s target of conducting 100,000 COVID-19 tests a day in England. These would include antigen tests that show whether people are currently suffering from Covid-19, as well as antibody tests to see whether people have had the infection and recovered.

If you would like to volunteer as a Laboratory Support Worker, register your interest.