The role that our biomedical scientists are undertaking in the fight against coronavirus is unprecedented. On biomedical science day we want to shine a spotlight on how trust biomedical scientists have been at the forefront of supporting the COVID-19 response.
Debra Padgett explained:
“We realigned our Virology & Immunology team to enable us to carry out as much COVID-19 testing as possible. The team have worked on changing rotas and shift patterns meaning that the Trust was able to roll out the testing of all admitted patients before national guidance. Our Trust laboratory was the first to undertake testing outside of the Public Health England Network.”
The small team of 13 people have worked 12 hours shifts since the beginning of March to support the testing requirements of the pandemic. They analyse hundreds of swabs a day from across the health and care network in north Cumbria to determine if COVID 19 is present.
Garren Scott, specialist biomedical scientist said:
“Everyone has pulled together. Overall we do a variety of different techniques of different tests and so as the pressure of the more experience molecular staff are looking after the coronavirus, while the microbiology staff have come in to help with the pre analytical side of things as well as looking after other tests. Everyone has been chipping in together doing various different things to help testing. Everyone just has to keep on top of things but I think spirit wise I think everyone’s mucking in and everyone is keen to take on more duties from the other labs to try and help out everywhere we can.”
Gayle Wager, microbiology team manager said: “Everyone wants to help everyone and everyone says as they go home ‘please just let me know what I can do to help, just call or text whatever’. Everybody has stepped up to the mark, we’re a small but very amazing team; we’re a great team. There has been no negativity and it has been hard work.”
The same small Virology & Immunology team are also undertaking the analysis of hundreds of blood samples looking for antibodies. This is vital work that will feed into a national piece of work to better understand the virus and how it works.
The team is undertaking all this work alongside the usual analytical blood and swab testing requirements that come through the Trust from our own services as well as those of our health and care partners such as GPs.
See a film that show the lab and the machine that is checking the covid samples.