REME soldiers help build the next generation of COVID testing

A team of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers have helped build four LamPORE mobile laboratories that are currently deployed in Scotland, the Midlands and South of England.

Instrumental in the build and design of the fleet of rapidly deployable mobile processing laboratories, the facilities are currently being trialled across the UK to help increase daily Coronavirus testing capacity.

The designs include a large laboratory, facilitating a workforce of up to eight laboratory technicians who are able to process swab samples detecting the presence of COVID-19 in up to 90 minutes using Oxford Nanopore LamPORE GridION technology.

The team of tradesmen from 5 Force Support Battalion REME worked with manufacturing firm Special Events Service Ltd (SES Ltd) to build the large processing capability which can be integrated easily with existing local and regional Mobile Testing Units (MTUs).

In addition to the large laboratories, REME Engineering Officers Captain Maling and Lieutenant Saunders working in partnership with Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Trust, have designed and built an Automation trailer that utilises LAMP testing and could provide further support to the Department of Health and Social Care. 

These laboratories could be based at hospitals to supplement the existing infrastructure shortages for testing patients and NHS staff.  Allowing hospital staff to continue operation of their existing laboratories for tests and investigations on non COVID-19 specimens, while also protecting its valuable NHS workforce through COVID-19 screening.