University of Nottingham: University Covid testing service hits 100,000

The University of Nottingham’s asymptomatic Covid-19 testing service has hit the significant milestone of completing 100,000 tests this week.

The testing service, which is wholly funded by the university, has been a huge success since its launch in September 2020, with student and staff tests carried out by a team of 25 core team members and 80 student helpers.

The university test is unique as it uses a non-invasive saliva PCR test developed by scientists at the university. The testing service has been effective at accurately identifying and isolating any positive cases before symptoms occur, reducing Covid-19 transmission on campus and in the local community. The highly accurate PCR test is easier and more comfortable than a swab test and samples are analysed at world-class facilities on campus and genome sequencing is used to identify any variants.

Third year Chemistry student Sarah Joyce was the 100,000th person to be tested. She has been regularly using the University Testing Service since returning to campus in April.

I started testing to keep others safe and to ease my nerves about Covid. I was really surprised to find out I was the 100,000th test, it’s a great achievement for the service and I’m really grateful to have it as it’s given me and many of my friends added peace of mind during the pandemic
Sarah Joyce, third year student
Since the initial pilot of the testing service in halls of residence in September 2020 it has grown to now have 25 testing stations across the three campuses. The service has also moved beyond campus into the local community with a testing station in Lenton and pop-up sites to support students and staff at City hospital, QMC and Derby Medical School.

Homeless people who are being provided with accommodation at the university over the winter months will also be able to use the testing service.

The University of Nottingham’s Biodiscovery Institute
Professor Chris Denning, Director of the University’s Biodiscovery Institute has led the creation and running of the service, he said: “Reaching the 100,000 milestone is a huge achievement for the whole team behind the testing service and is testament to their ongoing hard work and dedication. It’s incredible how much has been achieved in just over a year and I am really proud that we have managed to get to a point with the where we can also support the most vulnerable in our community.

“The service has proved to be an invaluable tool in reducing the spread of Covid-19 amongst staff and students by breaking the chains of virus transmission and minimising spread of infection. Currently positive cases are very low but we must remain vigilant especially as life on campus starts to return to normal. Having the testing alongside vaccinations really does give us the best chance of keeping everyone safe and protected and we would urge everyone to continue with regular testing.”

There is a booking system online with step-by-step instructions on how to take and book a test. Results are delivered the next working day after the test is taken. The university service is only for people without symptoms, anyone displaying symptoms still needs to test via the NHS.