A huge recruitment drive has already started for the Leamington lab and a campaign is expected to start soon north of the English border, the government said.
They will be able to process up to 600,000 samples per day when operating at full capacity, according to the Department of Health and Social Affairs (DHSC).
The latest data on the government’s coronavirus dashboard shows capacity on Sunday was estimated at 519,951 – with 379,955 tests actually processed.
This increased daily capacity of 300,000 people in each lab will translate into faster turnaround times for results, according to DHSC, while each facility will have a workforce of up to 2,000 once completed. ‘it will be fully endowed.
In addition to processing Covid-19 tests, these new diagnostic facilities will be used for serious illnesses, including cancer, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said, “We didn’t go into this crisis with a big diagnostics industry, but we built one, and these two mega labs are another step forward.
“The transformation of UK diagnostic facilities is not only key to beating this virus, but there is also a need to rebuild better – so we are better prepared in the future for large-scale testing.
He added, “The work going on in these labs is ultimately about saving lives and I am extremely grateful to everyone who worked so hard to make it happen.”
Scottish Health Secretary Jeane Freeman called the Scottish laboratory “a milestone in our fight against the virus”, but said its location had not yet been confirmed.
“The location of the megalab in Scotland has yet to be confirmed and we are working closely with our UK government counterparts on this,” she said.
The Acting Executive President of the National Institute for Health Protection, Baroness Dido Harding, added: “We have already reached our target of 500,000 test capacities per day by the end of October, but we do not have not stopped.
“Our laboratory network includes the NHS, universities, nonprofits and the private sector and the addition of these new laboratories will mean another step in our testing capability next year.
“Not only does this mean more tests, but it also means they can be processed faster and the time it takes to receive results is reduced. “