HSE doubles COVID-19 testing capacity through UCD NVRL to 10,000 following GMI agreement

Posted 10 April, 2020

The National Virus Reference Laboratory (UCD NVRL) at University College Dublin is growing its capacity to test for COVID-19 to 10,000 daily tests following supply agreement with Genomics Medicine Ireland Limited (GMI).

The Health Service Executive (HSE) and UCD NVRL will receive reagents from the company to allow for 900,000 tests to be carried out on people suspected of having COVID-19.

Already components for the first 200,000 tests have been delivered to GMI's laboratory in Dublin, which will operate seven days a week to formulate these reagents for the UCD NVRL - the primary testing centre for COVID-19 - and its partner laboratories.

“GMI’s rapid response in producing reagents for NVRL will be pivotal in our understanding of the outbreak and help in deciding when we can begin to lift current movement restrictions,” said Dr Cillian De Gascun, Laboratory Director at the UCD NVRL and Consultant Virologist.

“Diagnostic testing for COVID-19 is critical to tracking the virus, understanding epidemiology, informing case management, and to suppressing transmission.

“Our partnership with GMI will significantly support our efforts to achieve scale in our laboratory.”

The reagents provided by GMI will enable the UCD NVRL to ramp up to 10,000 tests per day in the coming weeks, supporting a more rapid analysis of samples and a quicker turn-around of test results to clinicians Dr De Gascun added.

Dr Anne Jones, CEO, GMI said: “We are proud to be able to support the national effort on COVID-19.

“We have been able to rapidly deploy our genomics and process skills in partnership with the NVRL team to enable a significant increase in the numbers of tests each day, and this most importantly supports patients and those anxiously awaiting test results”.

By: David Kearns, Digital Journalist / Media Officer, UCD University Relations