How can biotech and research laboratories across the UK help with Covid-19 testing?


Why should my lab convert to testing?


Everyone agrees that testing is a central part of the strategy for managing COVID-19 and ending lockdown.

Testing capacity is severely constrained, anyone who can contribute something to the effort of increasing testing capacity should do so.

Read some of the case studies on this site, to see the difference even a small lab can make for their local community.


If you are a laboratory who has the capacity to conduct COVID-19 tests then do get in touch with one of our volunteers to find out how you might be able to help.


How does your Network fit with the central government testing program?


Through our partnership with the DHSC we complement the government testing programme by providing additional capacity at a local level with machines operated in-situ. The data on the labs, machines, trained staff, consumables, the number of tests completed, and test outcomes will be shared with the central testing programme.


Further to this we also offer routine private testing facilities for local employers in the area as restrictions lift.

What if the Government wants my RT-PCR machine for the central testing program?


If the Government wants your machine, then you should give it to them. However, the central testing program is being selective about which machines it wants (so it can operate a repeatable process at scale). It is more than likely you have a machine that the Government doesn't want, that you can use to provide COVID-19 testing to your local community.

Who will my lab be testing?

We encourage labs to test staff in local GP surgeries and care homes. The surgeries themselves will identify those most at risk; this will include patient-facing staff who are likely to infect others.

This makes the logistics of providing, administering and collecting swabs much simpler. We can help you with setting this up.


There is also the option for laboratories to test local businesses for employers who would like to provide routine testing for their workforce.


Please do get in touch with us to find out how your laboratory could help local healthcare practices and businesses in your area.

Why should I join the network?

We are here to facilitate getting you set up and testing as quickly as possible. To that end, we will help you with whatever you need help with. Each lab is different and needs different help, but this might include:

  • Funding for testing supplies and staff
  • Sourcing testing consumables
  • RT-PCR machines
  • Lab standard operating procedures and test protocols
  • Logistics of swabbing
  • Documents and processes with GP practices/Care homes
  • Connections with other labs already testing
  • Provision of PPE

Are you working with the NHS/PHE/DHSC?

We have a formal partnership with the DHSC who are supporting our labs who test frontline healthcare workers. The Government are aware of our efforts more generally and we are in regular contact with them.


Isn’t there a shortage of the consumables needed to run tests?

At times there are shortages of particular consumables, but because of the diverse range of platforms across our network, and because many of our labs are running manual or smaller scale equipment we can generally be more flexible in what consumables we are sourcing.

The DHSC has provided us with lists of consumables that they would like us to steer clear of, and we do. These are typically consumables that are specific to very large automated machines.


We can provide labs / equipment

Our laboratory would like to offer testing, equipment or volunteers

We can provide labs / equipment

Our laboratory would like to offer testing, equipment or volunteers


Carole Burton Wright, Pangbourne Surgery


"The testing helps you manage your staff effectively when staff are going down with COVID like symptoms. Everyone at the practice is so grateful for the swabs, and it is massively beneficial in a clinical sense."


Greg French, Managing Director, Davis French & Associates


‘It's great to have the opportunity to work with the COVID-19 Volunteer Testing network, as it allows us to have a positive contribution during these difficult times, and make an impact in our local community.’

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