Posted: Tue 7th Apr 2020

Bangor University ready to help with coronavirus testing if called upon

North Wales news and information
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Apr 7th, 2020

A university already supporting the fight against coronavirus says it is ready to help with Covid-19 testing if called upon.

Bangor University said it is willing to test blood samples of those suspected of coronavirus as long as the conditions are right.

Currently, samples are tested in Cardiff, which means it takes up to 24 hours for results to come back to Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

Ministers are aware of the problems and it is believed they have been looking into ways of shortening the testing regime for those in North Wales.

A spokesman for Bangor University said: “The university has confirmed that, subject to full consideration of the requirements and necessary protocols and procedures, it has the potential to support COVID-19 testing for the NHS in our laboratories.”

The Welsh Government confirmed it was looking into other sites where suspected Covid-19 infected blood samples could be tested in Wales.

Bangor University has been taking a leading role in helping health services and national government cope with the pandemic.

In addition to making accommodation available to healthcare workers needing to be close to Ysbyty Gwynedd hospital or needing to isolate from families, it  has offered the use of Canolfan Brailsford as a temporary hospital facility with a capacity of 250 patients.

Last week, it emerged scientists from the university were leading a study into the prevalence of Covid-19 in wider society, via the testing of waste water.

As SARS-CoV-2 virus is shed in human faeces in high amounts, Bangor University’s research group are to test waste water as a “powerful indicator of disease incidence” at any given point.

It has been developing training programmes for non-critical staff working in hospital critical care settings, as well as helping co-ordinate the making of vital Personal Protective Equipment using 3D printers.

The project to design, print, assemble and provide PPE Visors to the NHS, followed approaches from senior medical staff.

A design was created, approved by front line doctors and distributed for production within a day.

By last Monday, there were more than 30 printers in full production, with volunteers from the university, schools and the private sector mucking in.

The first delivery was made to Ysbyty Gwynedd last Friday.

By Jez Hemming – Local Democracy Reporter

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