Randox calls upon NI engineers to build COVID-19 testing platforms
RANDOX CALLS UPON NI ENGINEERS TO BUILD COVID-19 TESTING PLATFORMS
Randox Laboratories has today announced it is recruiting 160 mechanical, electrical and manufacturing engineers to enhance its capacity for COVID-19 testing.
The engineers, who are due to begin work at the Randox Science Park from the middle of May, will be involved in the fast-tracked development of specialist molecular analysers used to detect the presence of COVID-19.
These testing platforms will be used to further enhance the government’s national testing scheme for key workers, as well as to facilitate testing more broadly across the general populace.
Dr Peter FitzGerald, Managing Director of Randox Laboratories, commented;
“It is Randox’s priority to ensure that we support the UK’s effort to fight COVID-19, by testing at scale. We know that this is the most effective way to both save lives and promote a timely return to a more normal society.
“We continue to ramp up our COVID-19 testing capabilities – not only by increasing our production of testing kits, but also by accelerating the build schedule for the testing analysers on which the tests are performed.
“We are aiming, by working at maximum efficiency in a greatly accelerated time frame of 6-7 weeks, to manufacture 200 of our most state-of-the-art testing platforms, which will greatly enhance our testing capacity at Randox.”
Randox has, in recent weeks, established a number of new teams responsible for the development, manufacturing and distribution of COVID-19 testing kits for the national testing programme.
The company is also interested in speaking to anyone with experience in mechanical, electrical or manufacturing engineering. Invest Northern Ireland is helping by contacting companies which may be able to temporarily release resources to help meet this urgent staffing requirement.
Dr FitzGerald added;
“To meet the unprecedented demand for COVID-19 testing, we have been redeploying our own personnel to various COVID-19 critical departments, but are now also recruiting for a number of specialist disciplines.
“Everyone at Randox has a vital role to play in the practical application of COVID-19 testing, and for engineers in particular, this is a unique opportunity to make a positive impact in the fight against COVID-19, by directly contributing in no small part to the national testing programme.”
Anyone interested in the Randox COVID-19 Engineering Drive should apply at careers.randox.com
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Health Secretary Matt Hancock publicly thanks Randox for ‘stepping up to the mark’
On 23 April 2020, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock personally thanked staff at Randox for the work we have done and continue to do, during the daily coronavirus briefing from Downing Street.
“I want to take this moment to applaud the private companies who have been involved…Boots, Amazon, Thermo Fisher, Randox, Rosch, Oxford Nanopore, GSK and Astrazeneca. They have really stepped up to the mark and I am grateful for each and every one.”
It is Randox’s priority to ensure that we contribute to the global effort to fight COVID-19, by testing at scale. We are therefore absolutely committed to the government testing scheme, which is focusing on key workers and the maintenance of critical national infrastructure – including that of the NHS.
In order to meet the requirements of this scheme, we have undertaken considerable reorganisation within the company by redeploying personnel – often to newly formed departments and newly formed teams. Everyone at Randox has a critical role to play in the practical application of COVID-19 testing and we appreciate all the hard work, patience, and flexibility of our staff.
Our work has greatly expanded the capacity for testing in the UK and we will continue to ramp up our capabilities, to both save lives and promote a timely return to a more normal society.
What we are doing is making a real and positive difference.
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To watch the full version of the Daily Coronavirus Briefing from 23rd April, please click here.
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OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM RANDOX
On the emergence of the Covid-19 threat Randox utilised their years of regulated diagnostic experience to quickly develop and robustly validate a test for the Covid-19 virus. Randox had significant confidence in this test and presented them to Public Health England (PHE) for evaluation. PHE were managing this validation process for each of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The UK Government showed significant confidence in Randox’s capability and conducted full engagement and planning subject to PHE acceptance of the Randox test. When PHE acceptance was granted, the Randox part in the national plan had been prepared and was quickly initiated.
We understand that the national plan for the testing of key workers is exactly that, a national plan, inclusive of Northern Ireland. Initially relatively small numbers of tests were sent to the areas of significant national threat in London.
The planning for the national distribution of test kits is being managed by the various relevant statutory agencies however Randox has made the case that tests should be made available locally. Following that engagement, tests have now been made directly available within Northern Ireland and Randox will continue to support Northern Ireland within the UK national plan.
Randox have acted with speed and initiative throughout this crisis and will continue to ramp up our testing capability to support the national testing plan for key workers in Northern Ireland.
Every part of Randox’s business is focused on doing everything we can to support the Covid-19 testing programme, to both save lives and ensure the speediest possible return to a more normal society.
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Randox Laboratories is partnering with the government to develop a new coronavirus testing programme in which NHS staff will be first in line.
The new service, which will be free, will help to end the uncertainty of whether NHS staff need to stay at home. Those who test negative for coronavirus will be able to return to work – enhancing the capacity of the NHS and social care to treat patients and care for those in community settings, with plans for a full roll-out for health, social care and other frontline workers.
Randox are providing high volume home sample collection kits and laboratory testing.
Randox CEO Dr Peter FitzGerald, said:
“We have an excellent Covid-19 assay and we are committed to supporting the government and this important initiative to test key workers and support vital public services.
“Randox Laboratories is now operational for COVID-19 testing and will be ramping up extensively in the coming weeks. This will provide extensive employment opportunities for laboratory and support staff.
“Our first tests have gone to the London Ambulance Service and we look forward to playing our role in ensuring that this critical capability continues to operate.”
To offer its coronavirus testing capabilities to the new programme, Randox’s COVID-19 test recently underwent evaluation from, and has been accepted by, Public Health England.
In its evaluation of the Randox COVID-19 test, Public Health England’s report noted that the assay correctly identified all positive and negative samples without exception.
As a result the government are proceeding to utilise the Randox COVID-19 test in the new testing programme for NHS staff, with an exceptionally high degree of confidence.
Two simultaneous tests are carried out on the proprietary Randox Biochip, in line with guidelines from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organisation.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said:
“We want to save lives, protect the most vulnerable, and relieve pressure on our NHS.
“Healthcare staff are key in our fight against the virus and I want to ensure that any frontline NHS or care worker who has symptoms of coronavirus or who has a family member with symptoms can be tested quickly and reliably.
“I pay tribute to the generosity and public spirit of Britain’s universities, research institutes and companies who have lent us their equipment without hesitation.”
Dr Jenny Harries, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, said:
“Laboratory-based testing on this scale is a little like building the medical equivalent of a car factory. We are assembling many different parts, some of them quite specialised and hard to find, then getting them to work accurately together in a highly co-ordinated process. There are bound to be teething problems, so we cannot switch on hundreds of thousands of lab tests overnight. But we hope that soon these hub laboratories will be operating round the clock, allowing us to significantly scale up our testing.”
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