Coronavirus: Laboratories

(asked on 24th September 2020) - View Source

Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what laboratory capacity his Department and it's Agencies have provided to NHS Test and Trace.


Answered by
Victoria Prentis Portrait
Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
This question was answered on 29th September 2020

Defra’s agencies have significant laboratory capacity and expertise that have been repurposed and provided to NHS Test and Trace.

Defra’s Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) temporarily supplied staff and equipment to the Lighthouse laboratories and has a contract with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to test up to 2000 samples per day. APHA also has a contractually based involvement in a research project called Safe & Certain (DHSC-funded project), coordinated by University of Southampton, which involves direct testing on saliva samples. APHA participated in Phase 1 of the project (July/August 2020) and is now embarking on Phase 2 involving testing of up to 60,000 samples over the next month.

The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Science (Cefas) provided four key pieces of Polymerase Chain Reaction testing equipment to the UK’s mass diagnostics facility in Northern Ireland, and personal protective equipment to NHS facilities in the Dorset region. Cefas has registered details of its remaining capacity through DHSC’s online portal.

The Environment Agency has been working with core Defra and the Joint Biosecurity Centre to trial the use of waste water testing for Covid-19 RNA, to help identify increases in Covid-19 prevalence at population level and help target testing capacity.

Fera Science Ltd provided critical testing equipment to the Lighthouse laboratory in Glasgow.

This content was generated for your convenience by Parallel Parliament and does not form part of the official record.
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