Vital equipment has been loaned to the Government by Edge Hill University to maximise Covid-19 testing capacity.
Seven polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machines, which are normally used by the University’s biology researchers to carry out DNA analysis on a wide range of organisms, were collected by the British military this week.
While the University’s labs are closed for research, a number of -20c freezers were also loaned to officials to help during the global health crisis.
Dr Clare Strode, a Reader in Vector Biology, leads on research monitoring insecticide resistance in mosquito populations worldwide and vector control measures.
She explained: “A key factor in dealing with this Covid-19 pandemic is screening samples for the presence of viral RNA which can be done before a person shows symptoms and prior to an antibody being present.
“This can act as an early warning system showing who is infected. For this PCR machines are needed and can also help understand how the virus is spreading in a population.
“There is a shortage of PCR machines so we’re delighted that we could loan out vital equipment to help our country during this health crisis and we are willing to loan out more equipment should the need arise.”
The University has answered the Government’s plea for equipment, lab space and skilled people to help in the Covid-19 pandemic in a variety of ways, including:
· Offering to house any member of the NHS, police or other key service who is required to self-isolate from their families to enable them to keep working, in response to the Lancashire Local Resilience Service call-out;
· Agreeing to release, on full pay, any professionally-qualified member of staff who wishes to temporarily re-join the NHS workforce;
· Donating vital personal protection equipment (PPE) to local NHS trusts, including gel, aprons and masks;
· Donating isopropyl 99% alcohol to a local NHS Trust to help them sanitise masks;
· Using the Clinical Skills and Simulation Centre on the Ormskirk campus to train local NHS staff;
· And launching an online learning hub to support schools, families and partners while classroom teaching is halted: https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/educationpartnership/linkstolearning/
More information about the University’s response to Covid-19 can be found in the latest news section of the website.