The Glasgow Lighthouse Lab has now analyzed more than 20 million COVID-19 tests, as Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid visited the lab today [Wednesday 10 November] to thank staff for their tireless work.
The lab, operated by Glasgow University on behalf of the UK Government, has played a vital role in identifying positive COVID-19 cases and helping reduce transmission of the virus since starting operations in April 2020.
Staffed around the clock, more than 20 million PCR tests from across the UK have now been analyzed at the lab, with many tests genomically sequenced to identify and track any new variants.
The Lighthouse lab, a cornerstone facility in the UK Government's nationwide testing program, has also played a key part in supporting the safe running of COP26 in Glasgow - by analyzing around 7,000 tests for international delegates and staff.
Sajid Javid visited the lab today on his trip to Glasgow for COP26. He met the executive team, toured the facility and spoke to lab staff to thank them for their crucial work in the past 18 months as part of the UK's efforts to tackle COVID-19 and save lives.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid said:
Analyzing more than 20 million tests is a phenomenal achievement that wouldn't have been possible without the tireless efforts of the lab staff who have worked around the clock to protect people and stop the virus spreading.
The Glasgow Lighthouse Lab has been at the heart of our UK-wide fight against the virus and our collective mission to identify cases, cut chains of transmission and save lives."
Professor Dame Anna Dominiczak, Director of Laboratories for the UKHSA, said:
Every lab worker has played a crucial role throughout the pandemic as every test either helps to reduce transmission of COVID-19 or allows people to carry on with their lives.
Testing and isolating when necessary remain a vital way of controlling the spread of the virus and protecting one another.
Having worked to set up the Lighthouse Laboratory in Glasgow last year I am delighted to see it has processed over 20 million samples. Very few labs in the world have processed such vast numbers and it has gone a long way to help our ongoing fight against COVID-19."
UK Government Minister for Scotland, Iain Stewart said:
It's an outstanding achievement that the Glasgow Lighthouse Lab has now processed more than 20million Covid tests and I join Minster Keegan in thanking everyone involved.
The UK Government continues to take unprecedented action to fight Covid and our comprehensive UK-wide testing program remains a vital part of that, building back stronger from the pandemic."
The Secretary of State's visit follows his announcement as part of COP26's Science and Innovation Day that national health services in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have united to commit to low carbon and sustainable health systems in the fight against climate change.
Health systems are substantial sources of greenhouse gas emissions - accounting for around 4.6% of the worldwide total. If they were one country, health systems would be the fifth largest emitter in the world.
This ambitious move is backed by 47 countries - including the United States and Germany - who are pledging landmark commitments to develop climate resilient, sustainable low-carbon health systems.
The Health and Social Care Secretary has written an open letter to NHS Trusts in England on the importance of meeting the net zero health service commitment. The letter praises the NHS' work to date on reducing carbon emissions, highlighting examples of positive biodiversity projects across the NHS. This includes the NHS Forest initiative, which has seen over 77,000 trees planted across 200 different NHS organization estates.