New Lighthouse Lab opens in Charnwood
The new Lighthouse Lab in Charnwood, Loughborough has begun operations, processing thousands of COVID-19 tests per day. The new facility is part of the network of Lighthouse labs as well as university and private labs which are working to expand testing capacity during the pandemic. Government has pledged a large increase in testing capacity and the onboarding of multiple sites dedicated to coronavirus testing. This site in Charnwood is expected to process up to 50,000 tests per day by early 2021. The facility is managed by the PerkinElmer Genomics company, an American life sciences company which employs around 13,000 people.
The lab results from a partnership between the DHSC and PerkinElmer, which has been engaged to equip, staff and manage the facility using PerkinElmer’s proprietary COVID-19 kits, diagnostic equipment and industry leading workflow solutions. Operations will be conducted 24/7 at the Charnwood lab as it starts up the processing of tests and aims to hit Government capacity objectives.
Results will support the contact tracing efforts of the NHS Test and Trace Programme. 400 scientists will be running the site and lending expertise to testing efforts. The lab is also giving many graduates employment and an initial career boost in the life sciences sector. PerkinElmer is utilising its chemagic™ 360 instruments and JANUS® G3 PCR+ Workstations in these UK labs to automate PerkinElmer’s RNA extraction and RT-PCR tests.
NHS Test and Trace Director and Interim Executive Chair of the National Institute for Health Protection Baroness Dido Harding commented: “Charnwood Lighthouse Lab is an important part of our growing network of labs that are working together to extend and improve testing across the whole country. I would like to congratulate everyone involved for their hard work in getting the lab up and running so quickly.”