The second Lighthouse Lab in Alderley Park is now operational, testing thousands of patient samples each day for coronavirus. The lab will help rapidly increase the country’s capacity to test for coronavirus to tens of thousands of samples each day. Alderley Park is the second site to become fully operational, after the Health Secretary officially opened the first Lighthouse Lab in Milton Keynes last week. The final site will open in Glasgow next week, completing the largest network of diagnostic testing facilities in British history.
Testing Minister Lord Bethell spoke to teams at the 2 fully operational Lighthouse Labs to thank them for their tireless efforts to rapidly scale up testing and was taken on a virtual tour of the new site at Alderley Park. Every day new drive-through testing sites are being opened to fill the testing capacity the Lighthouse Labs can now provide, with 20 new sites now taking patient samples across the country.
Earlier this month the Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced the UK government’s 5-pillar plan to rapidly scale up coronavirus testing across the UK.
The new 5-pillar plan outlines the ambitions to:
- Pillar 1: scale up swab testing in PHE labs and NHS hospitals for those with a medical need and the most critical workers to 25,000 a day in England by mid to late April, with the aligned testing strategies of the NHS in the devolved administrations benefiting from PHE’s partnership with Roche through a central UK allocation mechanism
- Pillar 2: deliver increased commercial swab testing for critical key workers in the NHS across the UK, before then expanding to key workers in other sectors
- Pillar 3: develop blood testing to help know if people across the UK have the right antibodies and so have high levels of immunity to coronavirus
- Pillar 4: conduct UK-wide surveillance testing to learn more about the spread of the disease and help develop new tests and treatments
- Pillar 5: create a new national effort for testing, to build a mass testing capacity for the UK at a completely new scale
The new Lighthouse Labs have been created through a partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care and Medicines Discovery Catapult with UK Biocentre and the University of Glasgow.
They are being closely supported by both NHS and Public Health England. The Alderley Park facility is hosted by the Medicines Discovery Catapult, working closely with AstraZeneca.
(Drawn from Govt. Press Release)