ONE of two new large-scale UK Covid-19 testing laboratories is to open in Leamington Spa in early 2021, the government announced today (Monday November 16).
The Warwickshire lab will be one of the country’s biggest diagnostic facilities dedicated to Covid-19 testing for the National Testing Programme with the ability to process up to 300,000 tests a day. The other lab will be based in Scotland.
The University of Warwick in Coventry – geographically very close to the proposed location of this new testing mega lab in Leamington Spa – was asked to help with this new initiative and has offered its full support.
A university spokesperson said: “We believe that we can provide significant assistance that will be crucial to getting the mega lab up-and-running quickly and effectively.
“We are currently running our own Covid-19 test and trace programme for symptomatic Warwick staff and students, and we are also proactively preparing to support the recent government announcement that they intend to provide universities with testing kits for the mass asymptomatic testing of our students. We also already provide Warwick staff and facilities to support the covid-19 testing work of a partner hospital.
“Even with those pre-existing Covid-19 testing commitments we believe that we can also play a key role in the success of this mega lab project. As one of the UK’s leading research led universities we have a significant number of staff and research students with laboratory skills, and experience in the establishment and operation of laboratory spaces, and we are already working closely with the team looking to establish the mega lab.”
The Leamington laboratory will create up to 2,000 new jobs in the area once fully staffed and operating 24/7, including jobs in the associated manufacturing and supply chain. It is anticipated that the new facility will open in early 2021.
New on-site jobs will range from scientists and lab technicians to administrative and warehouse roles, bringing a huge boost for local employment and supply chain businesses.
This is not the first time since the pandemic began that the county has been at the forefront of the national Covid response. Warwickshire County Council was one of 11 beacon councils selected to lead the test and trace pilot programme in May and more recently, Warwick District Council supported the pop-up walk-in test and trace centre to be situated in its car park at Court Street in Old Town, Leamington Spa.
Leader of Warwickshire County Council, coun Izzi Seccombe, said: “We welcome the announcement made by Government today. Warwickshire remains a strategically located destination within the UK for investment and the Government announcement to build a new diagnostic testing laboratory here reinforces that.
“The new facility will play an important role in the region’s recovery, bringing with it up to 2,000 jobs providing a much-needed boost to our economy. But it is also testament to the work that has gone into making Warwickshire such a standard bearer of technology and innovation. We have a wide range of cutting-edge enterprises based in the county and a tremendous pipeline of talent with two universities close by; to be selected once again by the Government to lead such a critical piece of work, demonstrates the trust and the confidence that our reputation brings.”
Leader of Warwick District Council, coun Andrew Day, said: “This new diagnostic laboratory gives a big boost for our local Recovery Plan, offering up to 2,000 people with a broad range of skillsets, entry level jobs to highly specialised roles and managerial positions – details can be found at ttlaboratoryjobs.com/.
“Leamington Spa is an attractive destination for technologically advanced schemes and this important new laboratory has our full support. Warwick District Council has aided the planning processes to work speedily and assisted with the provision of convenient car-parking facilities to ensure that the benefits of this important new national facility will be felt locally for many years to come.”