Coronavirus: “Frustration” with the offer of virus tests

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Coronavirus test

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A scientist has spoken of his “frustration” since he proposed university labs to help test the coronavirus in Wales about three weeks ago.

Cardiff University professor Andrew Godkin said they were “treading on foot” pending a decision to increase test levels.

The Welsh government has said it plans to use universities to fight the virus.

But Plaid Cymru said we have to go faster.

Cardiff University has one of the UK’s leading research centers in immunology and infection.

Professor Godkin, who heads the medical school, said Wales has significant laboratory capacity to help increase the number of Covid-19 tests.

“It was deeply frustrating. We reported what was available about three weeks ago, ”he said.

“We certainly have the capacity here and at Cardiff University to really offer … a considerable number of tests. “

Plaid Cymru chief Adam Price said: “The key now is to build this network of laboratories in universities, some of them in our individual hospitals across Wales, as well as companies in the sector private native that we have in our life science industry.

“We have the capacity, we have the expertise now, but we need to act faster. “

But other experts said there had been complications and that health officials were going in the right direction.

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Professor Ian Humphreys, head of infection at Cardiff University, said: “We have enormous potential to help expand testing in Wales.

“We have hundreds of highly qualified volunteers who are ready to really help in this really difficult situation.

“There are other bottlenecks in the testing process that we have been working on for a few weeks with Public Health Wales to identify, so things like the equipment required at different stages of the testing process and also laboratory reagents , so chemicals, liquids, things like that, that you also need to take the test.

“Bottlenecks”

“So we have been working for several weeks with Public Health Wales to identify what this means by working with a team of chemists, engineers and biomedical scientists to identify how we can help remove these bottlenecks in order to actually increase testing capacity in Wales. “

Prime Minister Mark Drakeford said in a briefing to the Welsh government that the universities had come forward.

“This is part of our plan and we will continue to work with them to ensure we maximize the contribution they can make to this testing effort,” he said.

“We are, I think, in the final stages of identifying the capacity they have, the personnel they have. Everything must be adapted.

“I was very encouraged by the way the universities offered to offer their facilities to participate in this national effort. “

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