PHE RESPONSE TO COVID-19 | Cork Institute of Technology researcher helps to develop a key reagent in the COVID-19 testing process

Dr Brigid Lucey, from EURASHE member Cork Institute of Technology’s BioExplore Research Group and her colleague Dr. Martina Scallan in University College Cork led a collaborative effort with colleagues in Teagasc, CUH, UL and Eli Lilly to successfully develop an effective lysis buffer formula for a key component of the COVID-19 testing process. This is one of the integral parts of the Covid-19 test. The agent not only strips the virus to be analysed from the respiratory secretions in the test sample but it also renders the highly infectious viral agent safe in a laboratory environment. The formula can be mass produced in Ireland and can be made available to other countries worldwide. This will help to alleviate the global shortage of testing agents for the virus.

“The unstinting cooperation, positivity and generosity of all involved, with participants drawn from the public and private biopharma sectors as well as hospital laboratories and third level research facilities, has enabled a successful outcome which may benefit testing laboratories everywhere. We hope that these efforts can help all those working so tirelessly in the forefront of the battle to contain and overcome COVID-19” she said.

The Irish team will make the formula for their lysis buffer, together with its performance characteristics, available via Internet science sites to assist other countries worldwide battling the pandemic through exhaustive testing.

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