QUB expects to conduct 1000 COVID-19 tests per day

  • Testing for COVID-19 is now underway at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB), with professors expecting to increase the testing capacity to 1000 tests per day.  

    The university’s Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) is the new testing facility and a result of the recently established NI COVID-19 Scientific Advisory Consortium.

    This group, which includes QUB, Ulster University and AFBI is helping to increase the Department of Health’s testing capacity in Northern Ireland for the virus.

    Ulster University estimates to deliver an additional 400 tests per day, in collaboration with the Western Trust. The consortium expects other developing collaborations to come on line in June.

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    It is led by Professor Stuart Elborn, QUB’s Pro Vice-Chancellor for Medicine, Health and Life Sciences, who is also an international leader in respiratory medicine.

    Health Minister Robin Swann said he was “grateful to all colleagues in the consortium for their collective efforts, working together with colleagues in our HSC labs, to increase our capacity to provide quick, accurate diagnoses at such a crucial point in our fight against Covid-19."

    Farming Minister Edwin Poots also extended his gratitude, saying the consortium is “is an example of what can be achieved by successful collaboration.”

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    Prof Elborn echoed this sentiment, commenting: “The consortium is an example of what cross-sectoral partnership can achieve and the significant difference collaboration can make during this time of a global pandemic.”

    The consortium works under the Department of Health’s Expert Advisory Group on Testing guidance and is supported by DAERA. A spokesperson said patient sample testing began at AFBI’s laboratories this week following an extensive quality assurance process with the Regional Viral Laboratory (RVL) in the Belfast Trust.

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    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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