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HSE secures reagents for up to 900,000 Covid-19 tests  

The HSE and National Virus Reference Laboratory (NVRL) at University College Dublin have entered into an agreement with Genomics Medicine Ireland Limited (GMI) for the supply of reagents that will enable the NVRL to “significantly ramp up testing of people with suspected Covid-19”, according to a statement this afternoon.

Reagents for the production of up to 900,000 tests have been secured by GMI and NVRL, with components for the first 200,000 already delivered to its laboratory in Cherrywood, Dublin.

“The laboratory will operate seven days a week to formulate these reagents for the NVRL and its partner laboratories, who are the primary testing centres for Covid-19,” according to the statement.

“This will enable the NVRL to ramp up to 10,000 tests per day in the coming weeks supporting a more rapid analysis of samples and a quicker turn-around of test results to clinicians.  

GMI’s expert team led by Dr Patrick Buckley has also been providing technical advice and expertise to the NVRL and its partner laboratories on process automation to help them scale up their capacity to undertake large scale testing. 

Dr Cillian De Gascun, Consultant Virologist and NVRL Director, said: “Diagnostic testing for Covid-19 is critical to tracking the virus, understanding epidemiology, informing case management, and to suppressing transmission.

“Our partnership with GMI will significantly support our efforts to achieve scale in our laboratory. GMI’s rapid response in producing reagents for NVRL will be pivotal in our understanding of the outbreak and help in deciding when we can begin to lift current movement restrictions”.

Dr Anne Jones, CEO, GMI said: “We are proud to be able to support the national effort on Covid-19.  We have been able to rapidly deploy our genomics and process skills in partnership with the NVRL team to enable a significant increase in the numbers of tests each day, and this most importantly supports patients and those anxiously awaiting test results”.

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