Coronavirus “super lab” to open at Alderley Park in Cheshire in a few days

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A coronavirus super lab is slated to be set up at Alderley Park starting next week as part of the government’s efforts to scale up testing nationwide.

The 24/7 hub has been set up at an “unprecedented rate,” according to those involved, and will collect samples from across the country to allow front-line staff to return to work.

Scientists and other experts from across the region are volunteering to get the lab up and running as quickly as possible, while ministers target 100,000 tests a day by the end of the month.

The Cheshire laboratory, which is one of three government-approved last week – alongside one in Milton Keynes and another in Glasgow – is being set up by Bruntwood’s Medicines Discovery Catapult, a national facility for drug research and development which also helps coordinate response to national tests more broadly.

Professor Chris Molloy, Director General of MDC, said that the scientific sector in the northwest – including higher education and the private sector – was coming together to step up testing.



“In an era of national challenge, harnessing the great strengths of UK companies, universities, the NHS and research institutes requires teams of experts working for a common purpose,” he said.

“The immense effort of so many partners to establish these national hub laboratories will provide vital information on the level of COVID-19 infection across the UK. It also demonstrates that innovative medical science is being scaled up.



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“At Medicines Discovery Catapult, we are well placed to lead the creation of the central laboratory in Alderley Park, bringing together the scientific, clinical and industrial know-how of numerous organizations – hiring a qualified local workforce – to support an increased capacity for COVID-19 tests. ”

Last week, ministers came under increased criticism for responding to national tests, with reports of tension in government and the NHS over the strategy.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said the region’s vast scientific expertise and capacity are “ready” to help in any way possible – and on Friday, the Secretary of Health announced a five-point plan for increase the number of tests to 100,000 per day by the end of the month, in particular thanks to a national partnership between government, universities and the private sector.

The Alderley Park facility appears to be part of this movement and appears ready to operate in a few days, taking samples from across the country.

A new driving test center for NHS workers is now operational in a car park near Manchester Airport, from where samples will be sent to laboratories such as the center of Alderley Park.

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