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DMU donates vital COVID-19 testing equipment to Government


De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) is helping the Government move towards its COVID-19 testing goal by donating vital diagnostic equipment.

The university has handed over several Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machines to the Royal Army Medical Corps, who will in turn transport them to testing centres nationally.

Simon Oldroyd

PCR machines are vital in the diagnostic testing process for the virus. The tests are done by taking a swab from the nose or throat which is sent off to a lab to look for signs of the virus’s genetic material.

The machines work as a diagnostic amplifying kit; they work by being set on a cycle of heating up and cooling down the samples until the genetic material is amplified to a level that it can be tested for COVID-19.

The use of the machines will help the Government get nearer its goal of 100,000 COVID-19 diagnostic tests a day by the end of April.

DMU alongside other universities in the country were contacted by the Army, who have been tasked by the Government to source as many PCR machines as possible.

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Dr Simon Oldroyd, Interim Deputy Vice-Chancellor at DMU said: “The machines have gone to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) where they will be used in diagnostic testing in the coming days and weeks. It was a nice feeling handing them over, knowing they will be used very soon for this incredibly important work.

Simon Oldroyd 2

“This is a collective effort from everyone, handing over any important equipment they may have, supporting the Government and vital testing. DMU is proud to be able to help and will continue to do so in any way we can."

Dr Oldroyd said the donation was only possible with the help of several staff.

He said: “Firstly, thank you to the Health and Life Sciences (HLS) faculty academic staff, who use this equipment every day for their own research.

“Handing kit like this over is a big deal, they are precious pieces of research equipment; thankfully the academics were really quick to say you must have these” he said.

“Thank-you also to HLS Associate Dean of Research, Prof. Anwar Baydoun, Chief Technician in Health and Life Sciences; Angela Ferguson who sorted this whole process out, including collection and Head of Security, Kevin Burrows, who enabled us access on campus to collect the equipment on the day.

 “Finally, to Pritesh Karia from ITMS who organised all the computers the machines are connected to and ensured all data and research from DMU was stored safely."

Posted on Friday 17th April 2020

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