The UK is opening its first testing ‘mega lab’ in Royal Leamington Spa in order to increase its daily coronavirus testing capacity.
The Rosalind Franklin laboratory has the expected potential to process hundreds of thousands of samples a day.
Being the largest laboratory of its type in the UK, the government has stated that it could create up to 1,500 jobs, and will play an essential role in responding to new variants of the virus.
With the purpose of increasing coronavirus testing capacity, the site will use automatons and robotics for its cause.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, has stated that the laboratory will be one of the “centrepieces” of the government’s efforts to manage Covid-19, and of the UK’s future test and trace infrastructure.
He added: “Trailblazing technologies are going to be pivotal to delivering on this bold ambition, and I’m delighted that today we are bolstering our capabilities in testing and genomic sequencing with the opening of the Rosalind Franklin Laboratory.
“Testing has already been instrumental in helping us control the virus, and it is going to be essential to continue to protect ourselves and our communities in the months ahead.”
We quickly offered our full support, providing every assistance to help establish the crucial new laboratory in nearby Leamington Spa.
Chief Executive of the UK Health Security Agency, Jenny Harries, said: “The Rosalind Franklin Laboratory is going to be a critical scientific addition to how we manage this virus in the months ahead, arming us with data and intelligence on the spread of variants that will inform decision-making and ultimately, save lives.”
Named after the DNA pioneer Rosalind Franklin, the new laboratory honours a scientist significant in the discovery of the structure of DNA.
Given that one of the most important ways of managing the pandemic has been tracking the spread of different Covid-19 variants, the laboratory will use its innovative technology to identify new mutations.
The University of Warwick has already seen a “significant number” of staff and research students working with the laboratory to provide support.
Professor Mike Shipman, Pro-Vice Chancellor at the University of Warwick, stated: “The University of Warwick was delighted to be asked to assist with this national initiative to help combat the pandemic.
“We quickly offered our full support, providing every assistance to help establish the crucial new laboratory in nearby Leamington Spa.”
There will be similar opportunities available in training and placements for students at Coventry University as part of their Applied Biomedical Sciences Degree programme.