The Pirbright Institute will support the NHS Berkshire and Surrey Pathology Services (BSPS) and the national NHS Test and Trace programme by providing induction and training for staff joining the new Lighthouse Laboratory in Bracknell. The Lighthouse Laboratory is designed to increase the UK’s COVID-19 diagnostic testing capability and will process COVID-19 samples from drive-in centres as well as swabs that people take at home.
Pirbright, a world centre of scientific excellence in viral diseases, will play a key role in diagnostics training for newly recruited staff using cutting-edge high throughput diagnostics equipment located on its campus in Surrey. As home to several Reference Laboratories in highly infectious viral livestock diseases including foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and African swine fever (ASF), the Institute has significant expertise in surveillance and diagnostics, particularly in relation to disease outbreaks.
The Institute is supporting BSPS in delivering a training programme for newly recruited laboratory testing staff which will comprise of an induction on sample management and biosafety followed by a period of training in scientific diagnostic procedures. This will include using state-of-the-art, highly automated COVID-19 testing equipment, which requires detailed technical knowledge to operate.
Ongoing training will continue to be provided by the Institute during 2021. Pirbright will also be offering a number of its scientists experienced in high throughput diagnostics on secondment to the new facility.
Professor Bryan Charleston, Pirbright’s Director, said: “We are extremely proud to offer our diagnostic expertise for training the Lighthouse Lab’s new staff to the highest possible standard. The accommodation of the new training programme at Pirbright has happened at record speed, requiring our staff to adapt rapidly to ensure both the equipment and training protocols are ready to receive the first recruits for training.”
Pirbright has supported the UK’s diagnostic effort since March through supplying 13 of its high-throughput testing instruments to the Milton Keynes COVID-19 Lighthouse Lab at the UK Biocentre. Over 60 of Pirbright’s diagnostic staff and scientists also volunteered to join seven Public Health England testing sites across the country, including at the Institute’s local Hospital.
Notes to editors
This study was funded by the Wellcome Trust Collaborative Award, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), MRC Case studentship and NERC iCASE studentship.
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About The Pirbright Institute
The Pirbright Institute is a world leading centre of excellence in research and surveillance of virus diseases of farm animals and viruses that spread from animals to humans. Based in the UK and receiving strategic funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the Institute works to enhance capability to contain, control and eliminate these economically and medically important diseases through highly innovative fundamental and applied bioscience.
The Institute is an independent company, limited by guarantee and a registered charity, governed by a Board of non-executive Trustee Directors.
With an annual income of £35 million from grants and commercial activity, and a total of £25.2 million strategic investment from BBSRC UKRI during 2019-2020, the Institute contributes to global food security and health, improving quality of life for animals and people.
For more information about The Pirbright Institute see: www.pirbright.ac.uk
About BBSRC UKRI
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.
BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.
Funded by government, BBSRC invested £451 million in world-class bioscience in 2019-20.
We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.
More information about BBSRC, our science and our impact: www.bbsrc.ukri.org
More information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes