THE DONEGAL DIAGNOSTICS TEAM AT THE HEART OF HEALTHCARE.
TÁ FOIREANN DHIAGNÓISEACH DHÚN NA NGALL LÁRNACH I GCÚRAM SLÁINTE.
Randox has been a world leader in diagnostics for 40 years, undertaking research, development, manufacture and global distribution of innovative tests for health conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and stroke.
In early 2020, based on almost four decades of experience in diagnostic R&D, the company quickly developed tests to accurately identify COVID-19. Since the start of the pandemic Randox built, equipped and staffed 80,000sq ft of PCR testing facilities, and 50,000sq ft of supporting logistic and engineering space, and now has amongst the very largest laboratories in Europe.
Randox Teoranta in Dungloe has played an active role in the company’s COVID testing programme. The staff’s contributions across science, software, engineering and manufacturing have led to the completion of almost 25 million gold-standard PCR tests, saving lives and enabling society and the economy to function in the face of a global pandemic.
SO WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE TALENTED TEAM AT THIS NEXT-GENERATION LIFE SCIENCES HUB?
The Randox Engineering Department designed several innovations to improve the speed and efficiency of COVID-19 testing, including state-of-the-art robotics equipped for sample receipt and batching. As an Engineer it means a lot to have access to the latest technologies that allow us to deploy the best possible solution to a problem. My team at Randox Teoranta specifically developed specialised equipment for the extraction of viral material from patient samples, an improvement in processes which contributed to our labs reaching an unrivalled capacity of 100,000 tests per day. As we move towards a post-pandemic future Randox will be harnessing our COVID laboratory infrastructure for new testing capabilities and I’m eager to begin work on the engineering requirements for Randox’s next generation of diagnostic innovations.
Software played a vital role in the creation of an end-to-end testing process for COVID-19. We were responsible for developing the required software for a number of specialist Randox machines for COVID-19 testing, and also had to produce bespoke systems that would scan and track samples from arrival right through to results reporting. All our projects are done collaboratively with software developers, engineers and testers across different Randox sites, and so it has been a great pleasure to work with a multi-disciplinary team of different backgrounds, interests and ages – whether it be placement students, graduates or longer-standing members of staff. We are all very excited for what’s to come in our field and the upcoming ventures that will allow patients to access a comprehensive report of all their personal health stats.
Manufacturing across all departments increased significantly during the pandemic. We ramped up the production of the Randox Biochip, on which tests are performed, and of our bespoke analysers, which house the Biochip technology. These tests and machines have been shipped to hospitals and laboratories across the world by the Randox Teoranta Logistics team. Over 5% of the world’s population, which is more than 370 million people, receive diagnosis using Randox products and I have loved the opportunity to work for a company which makes such a global impact. With more emphasis on and appreciation of the role testing plays in healthcare services, there is a focus across the manufacturing department to satisfy the increased demand for diagnostic equipment, so 2022 and beyond is shaping up to be a very busy time for our team.
When COVID-19 emerged as a global threat every department in Randox stood up to support the global testing effort.
My team at Randox Teoranta were involved in the research and development for COVID antibody tests that can determine if an individual has an effective immune response to the virus following vaccination or infection. These antibody tests, as well as other COVID-19 testing services, have been made available in our Randox Travel Centres in Dublin, Leopardstown, Sligo, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Letterkenny, providing a reliable service that has allowed people to safely travel for personal, family and business reasons. It is rewarding to know that the hard work we have put in has had such a massive impact on people’s lives during the pandemic, and that wider society now has an improved understanding of the importance of diagnostics and what we do here.
After COVID, we aim to convert the familiarity with testing across society into the improvement of people’s overall health; using what we have learnt during the pandemic to welcome a new era of truly preventative healthcare that improves patient outcomes and also reduces the burden on our vital clinical services. We have just introduced new home testing kits for vitamin deficiencies, hormone health and heart disease that will empower individuals to find out what’s going on inside their own body and truly take control of their health. It’s a very exciting time to be part of the dynamic world of healthcare diagnostics.