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UEA offers staff and students Covid-19 test with results in 24 hours

PUBLISHED: 11:33 28 September 2020 | UPDATED: 14:48 28 September 2020

University of East Anglia vice chancellor David Richardson collecting a Covid-19 test box. Picture: UEA

University of East Anglia vice chancellor David Richardson collecting a Covid-19 test box. Picture: UEA

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University students and staff in Norwich are to be given a groundbreaking Covid-19 swab test that provides results in 24 hours.

Covid-19 test box that has been launched for staff and students at the University of East Anglia. Picture: Earlham InstituteCovid-19 test box that has been launched for staff and students at the University of East Anglia. Picture: Earlham Institute

The University of East Anglia has launched in-house testing in partnership with the Earlham Institute, making use of in-house scientific expertise and laboratory facilities on Norwich Research Park.

The test, which tells people if they have the virus at time of testing, is offered on a voluntary basis to all students at UEA – undergraduate, postgraduate taught and postgraduate research students, as well as to staff who are regularly working on campus.

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People are asked to sign-up online before collecting a test kit from campus, then self-administering a swab test and returning it that day. The team will endeavour to return test results within 24 hours.

Students are back on campous at the University of East Anglia. Picture: Darren CarterStudents are back on campous at the University of East Anglia. Picture: Darren Carter

The project is aimed at limiting transmission of the virus and providing reassurance to students, staff and the wider Norwich community. It is separate, but complimentary to, the national Covid-19 testing programme.

Prof Dylan Edwards, pro-vice-chancellor of UEA’s faculty of medicine and health sciences, said: “Testing is voluntary but strongly recommended, especially if people are living, working or are regularly visiting our campus.

“Based on initial expressions of interest, we think this is something people will interested in to help keep themselves and the community safe.

Neil Hall director of the Earlham Institute. Picture: Denise BradleyNeil Hall director of the Earlham Institute. Picture: Denise Bradley

“The national testing system has focused on symptomatic testing but we will be complementing this with testing of people without symptoms to prevent the silent spread of the virus.”

The initiative follows the successful Norwich Testing Initiative pilot study, which was run over the summer by Norwich Research Park.

This feasibility study was designed to stress test the logistics and efficiency of community testing and provide a platform for validating new testing approaches.

Covid-19 test box that has been launched for staff and students at the University of East Anglia. Picture: Earlham InstituteCovid-19 test box that has been launched for staff and students at the University of East Anglia. Picture: Earlham Institute

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Prof Neil Hall, director of the Earlham Institute, said: “The Covid-19 second wave is partly being driven by transmission among younger, mostly asymptomatic, carriers.

“Community testing will give us the real-time information we need so the university can act quickly to disrupt the chain of transmission. I’m proud that we’ve been able to bring together local knowledge and expertise to help protect our community.”

The Norwich Testing Initiative is also looking at ways of extending the programme, working with partners across Norwich Research Park and local agencies.


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