Student scientists from Coventry University are helping the NHS stop the spread of COVID-19 by screening test samples for the deadly virus.
A number of students from the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences are working in the COVID-19 screening labs at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust to deactivate, decontaminate and process swab samples from patients and the public.
Biomedical Science student Alicja Szkolnik has been working in the labs and as the severity of the pandemic continues to ease she encouraged people to stay vigilant and get a COVID-19 test to protect themselves and those around them.
She said: ‘Hopefully these tests will save lives and part of my work will contribute to helping us get out of this pandemic.
‘We are applying our knowledge into practice. From working in the university’s Priory Hall testing centre I have seen the lateral flow test device, know how it works, understand the concept behind it and been able [to] troubleshoot it. At UHCW we are involved in the logistics of testing, and we can see the scale of it; I am learning a lot of transferable skills.
‘I’d encourage people to take a test if they are visiting campus. It’s a simple and free procedure that takes five minutes. If you have a test, you know you are doing everything you can to keep the people around you safe.’
Alicja was one of a number of students from the university who was involved in running five asymptomatic self-swab lateral flow testing sites across the Group’s Coventry, Scarborough and London campuses from December to April.
Second -year Biomedical Science student Jan Kwiatkowski has also been working at UHCW.
He said: ‘I’m so glad I decided to study here. I cannot believe I’m already working in an NHS lab with qualified biomedical scientists.’
Virologist Dr Phil Gould is Associate Head of School in the School of Life Sciences and encouraged the students to help the NHS. He said: “Mass testing is a key part of our armoury in the fight to control the virus, and I am really proud of the students.
‘Our students and graduates are helping the NHS at a time when virology is taking centre stage and are learning skills that will help them in their future careers.’
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