Honeyman Group First Private Laboratory in North of England to Provide Screening for COVID-19

The Honeyman Group in Barnard Castle, County Durham, will be the first private laboratory in the North of England to provide COVID-19 screening for frontline healthcare professionals.

Partnering with the COVID-19 Volunteer Testing Network to supplement the Government’s official test programme, the pharmaceutical specialists will be screening swabs for Coronavirus from the beginning of May.

“Through twice-weekly screening of key workers, who are caring for the people most vulnerable to this disease, we can help stop the spread of Coronavirus within our community. Our facility will be able to handle 1,000 samples a day, initially, with provisioned capacity of up to 10,000 tests per day.” Tom Honeyman, Managing Director reports, “Turnaround for results will typically be within 8 hours from receipt, when the laboratory is fully operational.”

Honeyman Group has self-funded the conversion of a significant amount of laboratory space to create the contained COVID-19 testing suite. Initial running costs will also be met by Honeyman Group with support from the Fischer Family Trust. “By creating an emergency network of volunteer laboratories across the UK, we can play a vital role in supporting the national effort, at no cost to the taxpayer” said volunteer network founder Mike Fisher.

The company will provide screening for COVID-19 using real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) analysis. rRT-PCR is an amplification technique where a unique primer is used to target the viral gene present in swab samples. When COVID-19 is present this is confirmed by fluorescence using a passive dye on the amplified genetic material.

Honeyman Group logistics will provide collection and delivery of swabs samples between enrolled organisations and the laboratory.

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