Preparing Your Vineyard for Harvest: A Randox Food Diagnostics Blog
Preparing your vineyard for harvest: Excellence in every glass
Each year from August through October and maybe a little later, the Northern Hemisphere comes alive with the excitement and rush of harvest as wine makers celebrate with festivals, dinners and get together as the yearlong grape growing season comes to an end and harvest begins.
Producing the highest quality wine grapes is dependent upon many factors – mainly the right amount of sun and rain. The growing process can be stressful for winemakers as they anxiously keep a close eye on weather conditions, in hope that it’s clear of frosts, heatwaves and hail. These can all have detrimental impacts on the vineyard.
However, this year it hasn’t been weather conditions that have been a worry for winemakers. Instead, many vineyards have been significantly impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and events that once brought life to local communities and vineyards are now taking place online. Channels for selling wine such as hotels, restaurants and airports have dried up with current restrictions, and online and supermarket sales have never been more important.
Like many industries the food and beverage sector has continued to operate through one of the most challenging times. Using a combination of expert knowledge and technology has ensured that the expectation put upon winemakers to create excellent wine is regularly achieved even in the toughest conditions.
Did you know that a wide range of elements are measured to ensure perfection in every bottle, including levels of acidity and sugar ripeness relevant to the desired style of wine? Technology has been giving winemakers a helping hand in ensuring the quality of each harvest for many years including Randox Food‘s RX misano – a compact, fast and efficient benchtop spectrophotometer capable of gaining results in 8-15 minutes.
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Meat & Seafood
19 August 2020: Rise in Lockdown Drug Use Linked to Mental Health Issues
The survey delves into not only what drugs are being taken, but also crucially, why people are resorting to substance abuse during lockdown. Benzodiazepines and cannabis reportedly ‘greatly increased’ or ‘increased’ in use within the first 4 weeks of the pandemic. Approximately one in two people surveyed are taking drugs currently; a sharp increase from one in five people before the pandemic.
Anxiety, loneliness and stress
The majority of respondents (71%) reported that they are still using drugs for fun, however there was also a significant rise in those reporting their reason for drug use as a way to cope with their mental health.
Mental health concerns that came up were; anxiety, loneliness, stress and escaping reality. Previously when this survey was conducted before the pandemic, each of these elements of mental health were reported at around 20%. Now however, they are being reported in approximately 30-50% of respondents.
This is understandable, given the uncertainty of what lies ahead, and the fact that some will also be struggling with unemployment, money, relationships and self-confidence.
Reduced Health Care Options
Unfortunately, many health facilities have been operating at reduced capacity and have been unable to see patients due to the outbreak, meaning that people are indeed turning to drug use instead of professional medical help.
As countries begin to open back up again and resume more normal health care activities, they will almost certainly see a rise in people seeking treatment for drug use.
Using our revolutionary Biochip Array Technology, the Evidence MultiSTAT is a fully automated benchtop analyser that enables onsite, simultaneous testing for up to 21 classical, synthetic or prescription drugs from a single sample in under 20 minutes.
Randox Toxicology Products and Services
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Cerebral Array II from Randox Biosciences
Randox Biosciences’ Cerebral Array II has been designed for the simultaneous measurement of analytes associated with nervous system dysfunctions such as Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis. The array harnesses multiplex testing measuring up to five biomarkers simultaneously using a single patient sample with a turnaround time of 2.5 hours. It is suitable for human serum, plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples. Our Cerebral Array II offers excellent sensitivity, precision and recovery as well as analytical performance.
Cerebral Array II
- C-Reactive Protein (CRP)
- Neuron Specific Enolase (NSE)
- Neutrophil Gelatinase-Associated Lipocalin (NGAL)
- Soluble Tumour Necrosis Factor Receptor I (sTNFRI)
Key Benefits of Cerebral Array II
- Multiplex testing from a single sample
- Suitable for human serum, plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples
- Small sample volume
- Excellent analytical performance
- Fast throughput
- Applicable to fully automated and semi-automated Evidence platforms
Your central nervous system is your body’s control centre which includes the spinal cord and a large network of nerves and neurons. Together, the nervous system controls everything from your senses to the muscles throughout your body. When this is damaged, triggered by an illness or injury it can disturb many functions including memory, sensation and even a person’s personality.1 Up to 1 billion people (1 in 6 of the world’s population) suffer from neurological disorders from Alzheimer and Parkinson Disease, strokes, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy.2
World Health Organisation (WHO) categorizes neurological disorders in two groups which is shown in the table below3. Group one is classified as neurological disorders in neuropsychiatry which are non-communicable diseases (NCD). NCD is a disease that is not transmissible directly from one person to another. Group two are disorders/injuries with neurological sequelae meaning a pathological condition resulting from a prior disease, injury, or attack.
|GROUP ONE||GROUP TWO|
|Alzheimer and Other Dementias||Neuroinfectious|
|Parkinson’s Disease||Nutritional deficiencies and neuropathies|
|Multiple Sclerosis||Neurological injuries|
Randox Biosciences can assist in cerebrovascular research by providing innovative diagnostic technology and tests that will continue to revolutionise the healthcare industry and assist in academic research. This technology includes our Evidence Investigator and our Cerebral Array II which can be used to assist in the discovery and research of Cerebral diseases.
Biochip Technology is an immunoassay testing platform and is the core of Randox Biosciences. The intelligent chemically activated 9x9mm ceramic biochip acts as a solid phase reaction vessel. Benefits of Biochip Technology include:
- The biochips are pre-fabricated with discrete test regions (DTR’s)
- Highly accurate testing
- Better diagnosis
- Reduced sample volume
- Wide test menu
- Multiple sample types can be used on a Biochip
- Cost consolidation
The Evidence Investigator offers a high throughput even as a compact, semi-automated analyser promoting lab efficiency and cost saving solutions. Utilising Randox’s patented Biochip Technology, this platform facilitates multiplex testing in a rapid, accurate and easy-to-use format providing a comprehensive patient profile from one single sample. This analyser is suitable for medium throughput laboratories and is extremely robust with only one moving part.
For further information on our Cerebral Array please visit the Randox Biosciences website.
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Staff Newsletter January - July 2020 Edition
We are delighted to be able to share with you the January – July 2020 edition of our We Are Randox staff newsletter.
Click here to view our news from 2020 so far – including of course our vital work in testing for COVID-19, but also a range of staff announcements including engagements, births and retirements.
** Please note that this newsletter works most efficiently in your Google Chrome browser**
Dr Peter FitzGerald: Nothing will ever be the same again.
An Interview with Ulster Business Editor John Mulgrew in The Belfast Telegraph, in which Dr FitzGerald speaks to John about developing and helping roll out millions of tests for Covid-19, a forever changed society, the high likelihood of a similar pandemic returning and when a vaccine for the virus could be found.
Dr Peter FitzGerald’s expertise and opinion has probably never been taken as seriously as it has in the last few months.
“Nothing will be the same again,” he tells Ulster Business. And, of course, he’s right.
His firm Randox – based in Antrim – has been on the front line of testing for Covid-19 right across the UK and beyond. And as a result, he’s hired hundreds of new staff and built a £30m testing lab to deal with additional deluge of work resulting from a global pandemic unlike anyone here has ever seen.
“I think there is a reasonable chance there will be more pandemics, with globalisation and increased population,” he told Ulster Business. “I have no idea how much it will come back again in second wave.
“We know we have the capacity as a company to respond, and respond well. I suspect the country is going to be better prepared… it’s hard to predict.”
The medical testing giant’s first involvement with the current coronavirus strain began back in January, before it became an increasingly concerning dinner conversation in homes across Northern Ireland.
“In late January, research called and were looking at doing a test,” Peter said. “We downloaded the genetic sequence of the virus and spent the next two weeks developing a test. We can do it very quickly, as we already had coronaviruses on chip.
“It was sent to Public Health England, which took a while to prove it. We then got a contract to test for the NHS… we were doing what we thought was for the national good.”
The initial deal didn’t include all of the UK, but Randox is now also testing Northern Ireland.
“We do the testing and we have different analysers that do the testing as well, which we sell to labs across the world.”
The virus has led to a new complete lab being built (in which Peter is pictured in) to deal with the additional testing. “We decided to accelerate the manufacturing in our Randox Science Park in Antrim,” he says.
As a result, it has hired around 200 staff in the space of six to eight weeks to deal with the surge.
“Because we had closely related strains of the virus, it was wasn’t so difficult to modify our tests to allow for slightly different variations… once we got the contract we soon realised that we didn’t have enough lab space to deal with the ramp up.
“We then decided to be 33,000 sq ft of new lab space, and it was needed in three weeks. We got that done – work was 24 hours a day, and seven days a week. It’s now operating well. That has been very important in the process.”
Randox had a workforce of around 1,450 worldwide before the coronavirus crisis began, but has since taken on around 280 additional staff for a range of roles, partly in ramping up demand for the additional testing.
“A lot were being taken on a temporary basis but many will be permanent. We are not sure of the final numbers, but well over 100.” Those roles include scientists, manufacturers, and engineers.
“Nothing will be the same again,” Peter says. “What it has done is heightened the importance of testing. People sometimes don’t know what we do here at Randox… but people now realise.
“In the end, it’s a good thing. We are advocates of testing. It identities disease before symptoms occur and can save lives in many occasions. It saves lives and saves costs. It fits in with what we have been trying to do for years… as far as we are concerned, it’s the silver lining.
“We have customers worldwide and other products kept going. We moved around 100 scientists into Covid-related things and then they have gone back to normal jobs as we bring in new people.
“Some of our R&D projects have changed, new systems and new analysers allow for efficient and accurate testing.”
Peter says that just a small element of the business has seen a decrease amid the crisis, while other areas around Covid-19 have grown. “Only a small element of core business decreased. But our Covid and other genetic products have increased… overall sales will be up and by end of year normal business up as well.”
As a result of the latest expansion and growth across the business, generally speaking, Peter says the workforce looks set to climb to 1,650, with around 500-600 based at its main headquarters, just outside Antrim.
Peter’s also keen to reiterate the importance of Northern Ireland and its people to Randox. “This is our home base. It’s where we do our primary R&D and manufacturing. We also have a facility in Donegal.”
And, could all of this happen again soon, with a further outbreak or a similarly devastating strain or pandemic?
“(We are) more prepared and our technology is getting more accepted through bio chips. Early detection is a very important next stage. You don’t want people who have a cough or fever to think they have Covid all the time. That is where testing comes in and that differentiates.”
Peter says the next stop forward in a bid to address similar future incidents it also understanding how our immune systems work – better.
“The other major step forward in many ways is understanding the immune system better. How to better respond to infection. This will be very important.
“Some people are susceptible, and this could be genetic. (It’s about) working on certain genes in those who may have a bad attack. It will prepare humans better, the body’s defence, dealing with it as well.
“I have a deficiency in a particular gene which means I’m more susceptible to respiratory (conditions) but the spin-off of the gene means I’m less susceptible to certain cancers. This is the issue – it is so complex. One could be a strength and one moment, a weakness.”
And as for the formulation of a proven vaccine, Peter says: “I would say it would be well into next year.”
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Photo Credit Elaine Hill
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10 August 2020: Drug and Alcohol Training from Randox Testing Services
As well as providing a fully managed drug & alcohol testing service, RTS provide a range of training and education services to help inform and educate regarding the issue of drug & alcohol use in the workplace.
Alcohol use increases the risk of problems in the workplace, such as absenteeism, presenteeism and inappropriate behaviour. Use of alcohol or illicit drugs can impair a person’s performance at work through poor decision making and impaired reaction times causing lost productivity, inferior goods/services, errors and accidents.
Certain working situations and conditions are associated with use of alcohol and illicit drugs (i.e. shift or night work, travel away from home, working remotely, business meals, poor communications and job stress, etc). There are many factors within the workplace culture that present an increased risk for the use of substances including availability, work/peer-group pressures, lack of supervision, physical danger and interface with a demanding or aggressive public. International evidence also indicates that longer working hours are significantly associated with higher rates of alcohol use and related problems.
Randox Testing Services offer professional training services to ensure efficient implementation of workplace drug and alcohol testing. The training services confirm employer confidence to carry out workplace drug and alcohol testing and management competence in enforcing the process. There are a range of tailored training programmes to educate employers and their management staff.
Range of Courses
Our range of competency courses are designed to train employees who will be responsible for carrying out self-collection in accordance with company policy. Anyone involved in self-collection needs to be suitably trained and certificated to follow set procedures that ensure all testing can be legally defended. We provide competency courses for the following matrices:
- Alcohol Testing
- Instant Urine Testing
- Instant Oral Fluid Testing
In addition to the above, we also provide a portfolio of other training and education presentations that enable employers to enhance awareness of substance misuse & understand the various processes involved when implementing a workplace testing programme. These options include:
- Chain of Custody Training
- Drug & Alcohol Awareness Training
- Employee Briefings
- Bespoke Training Courses
All training courses are fully recorded, regularly reviewed and include an assessment of the effectiveness of training. Upon completion, all attendees are granted a Certificate of Attendance at the end of each completed training course.
Randox Testing Services
Randox Testing Services are a specialist in the workplace drug & alcohol testing sector. We provide a wide range of testing for companies who want to reduce the impact of substance misuse in the workplace. With a range of service options and expert staff on hand to provide help and training, our services will help to eradicate the impact of drugs and alcohol.
If you have any questions regarding drug & alcohol testing and how we can provide your company with training and education services, please use the below details to get in touch and we will be happy to discuss requirements.
Email – email@example.com
Phone – +44 (0) 28 9445 1011
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STATEMENT FROM RANDOX: 07 August 2020
Randox Laboratories have today taken the decision to recall Covid-19 sample collection kits, following the identification of incomplete EC certification. On 15th July DHSC placed these kits on hold due to the absence of swab certification from an external supplier. To date, Randox have not been provided with evidence to satisfactorily support the CE marking for these swabs. So, noting the lack of CE certification by the supplier and that some kits remain in the field at this time Randox has, as a regulatory measure, initiated the recall of those kits used within the National Testing Programme.
Randox Laboratories will continue to provide high volume Covid-19 testing to the National Testing Programme from their laboratories, based on sample collection kits from other providers.
DHSC have stated the risk to safety is low and test results from Randox kits are not affected.
This recall applies only to sample collection kits within the UK National Test and Trace Programme. Randox private customers or kits are not affected.
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