Coventry University loans DNA equipment to help speed up Covid-19 tests

DNA extraction machine
University news

Thursday 16 April 2020

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Coventry University has loaned a DNA extraction machine to University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) to help ramp the number of tests being done for COVID-19.

The machine, a Promega Maxwell RSC, can process 16 samples simultaneously and can extract DNA in under an hour which can then be tested to see if COVID-19 is present.

This now takes the existing number of testing kits running at the hospital to four, complementing a larger testing machine, which can process greater numbers of samples.

Thanks to our partners at Coventry University, we can have greater flexibility in how we process samples and also much larger capacity to further strengthen the NHS response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The additional system will complement the existing kit we have on site and enable us to undertake more testing.

 We have already created a new laboratory specifically for COVID-19 testing, so that we increase the numbers of samples tested across Coventry and Warwickshire.

Professor Neil Anderson, Director of Pathology Services at UHCW

Last month, more than 25 Coventry University PhD students volunteered to help UHCW with COVID-19 testing. Many of them are international students who are unable to travel home to their families  and want to help the NHS.

Coventry University trains hundreds of student nurses and other allied health professionals every year and is trying to support the NHS in a number of ways during the current crisis.

The Faculty of Engineering, Environment and Computing are using 3D printing machines and laser cutting equipment to make much-needed personal protective equipment (PPE), while about 50 paramedic students from the Coventry campus and about a dozen nurses from the CU Scarborough campus have taken up roles as frontline staff to help tackle the outbreak.

Thousands of items of PPE from the university’s stocks have been donated to frontline care workers.