Covid-19 and mobilising testing resources

 

Sir, – Thank you for publishing the article by Prof Paul Moynagh, which makes the point that there is a resource of students and staff at universities that could help more with Covid-19 testing (“Use university labs to clear the testing bottleneck”, Opinion & Analysis, March 25th).

I believe that one of the reasons this resource is not being mobilised is because universities do not have accredited laboratories, one of the purposes of which is to ensure the competency of testing.

However, many students and research staff regularly go on work placements or secondments to accredited laboratories, many of which are in industry. Accredited laboratories could be encouraged to expand their testing capacity now and recruit the various students and staff who are available and are willing to do this work.

This could be done wherever the required biosafety level laboratories are available, including in the universities.

The Irish National Accreditation Board could be asked to verify if the laboratories were operating to the required standard.

There are staff and students available to prepare reagents needed for testing, with this capability also existing among the university community.– Yours, etc,

Prof PAUL MURPHY,

Professor

of Chemistry,

NUI Galway.