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Covid-19 testing starts at agri-food institute labs

The move is set to significantly increase the Department of Health’s testing capacity.

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Other collaborations are currently under development and are expected to come on line in June (Michael Cooper/PA)

Other collaborations are currently under development and are expected to come on line in June (Michael Cooper/PA)

Other collaborations are currently under development and are expected to come on line in June (Michael Cooper/PA)

Testing for Covid-19 has started at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, boosting capacity in Northern Ireland.

It is being run by a consortium which includes Queen’s University and Ulster University under the auspices of the Department of Health’s Expert Advisory Group on Testing.

Patient sample testing began at the AFBI’s laboratories this week.

It is expected to build up to delivering 1,000 tests per day, with further testing capacity, estimated to be an additional 400 tests per day, to be delivered by Ulster University in collaboration with the Western Trust.

This increased capacity will be key as we continue to deliver a robust response to this unprecedented pandemic and protect the health of our populationHealth Minister Robin Swann

Other collaborations are currently under development and are expected to come on line in June.

Health Minister Robin Swann said increased testing capacity will help in the fight against Covid-19.

“I am grateful to all colleagues in the consortium for their collective efforts, working together with colleagues in our HSC labs, to increase our capacity to provide quick, accurate diagnoses at such a crucial point in our fight against Covid-19,” he said.

“This increased capacity will be key as we continue to deliver a robust response to this unprecedented pandemic and protect the health of our population.”

PA