Scientists at the Alderley Park Lighthouse Lab in Cheshire processed their 6 millionth test over the festive period, the equivalent of providing tests for one in ten people in the UK.
The facility, operated by Medicines Discovery Catapult (MDC) and launched last April, plays a key role in the UK Government’s national COVID testing programme and is now able to process more than 50,000 tests a day.
For Professor Chris Molloy, CEO of MDC, the achievement is a major milestone spanning ten months of hard work and is the epitome of the team’s ‘can-do’ attitude.
Professor Molloy, who led the formation of the national Lighthouse Labs network, said:
“The Alderley Lighthouse was home – day and night – to an army of 300 volunteers from across the region who answered the call to action when it was launched up in April last year.
“We now have a team of over 500 contract staff at Alderley Park, many of whom are at the beginning of their careers. Passing six million tests has been a monumental achievement, demonstrating the quality, determination and sense of purpose of our staff in coming together to help the country in a time of adversity.
“It was all the more gratifying that we met the milestone over the festive break, as the lab team continued to work normal shifts over Christmas and New Year.
“I’d like to thank our team, both current and former, on behalf of the six million people whose lives they have touched through their dedication and hard work. ”
Mark Wigglesworth, Site Director at the Alderley Park Lighthouse Lab, said:
“The data from the Test and Trace network, including the Alderley Park Lighthouse facility, has been key in understanding and tracking the spread of the new COVID variant.
“And while a new national lockdown is not what anyone would have wanted, the regional and national testing capability has been pivotal in informing government policy, protecting the NHS and saving lives.”