London institutions forge COVID-19 testing alliance

London’s leading life science and academic institutions have united to respond to the Coronavirus pandemic by ramping up diagnostic testing capacity for the UK.

The Testing Alliance, set up by life science cluster MedCity, brings together universities, healthcare institutes, industry and pathology service providers. They will use untapped resources and build on existing infrastructure to offer at least 20,500 more tests a day for COVID-19 over the coming months and into the new year.

Neelam Patel, chief executive of MedCity, said: We work to create powerful scientific networks and we’re proud that the latest collaboration we’ve brought together will help expand capacity for COVID-19 testing in the UK. 

“By using a well-established academic cluster, we are able to mobilise London’s world-leading institutions to refocus their space, equipment and people on this most pressing and unprecedented healthcare need.”

Through the alliance, Health Service Laboratories in partnership with UCL, King’s Health Partners, Imperial College London and Queen Mary University of London will use existing university and hospital laboratories and launch new laboratories to deliver large-scale diagnostic capabilities. London universities are also involved in the development and manufacture of a potential vaccine. 

Jill Lockett, managing director of King’s Health Partners, said: “Offering our local and national population the safety, protection and peace of mind that COVID-19 testing provides is our priority during this pandemic. We have some of the world’s best life sciences facilities in London and together with our partner Academic Health Sciences Centres and MedCity we are committed to harnessing our combined expertise to support capacity, build knowledge and increase understanding. King’s Health Partners, University College London, Imperial College London and Queen Mary University of London are delighted to be launching new laboratory capacity and we welcome the support from the Department of Health and Social Care to do this.”

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