NHS medical director tours COVID testing facilities at UHS

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NHS England medical director Professor Stephen Powis met with staff at UHS earlier today (Friday) to find out more about the Trust’s response to COVID-19 and pioneering research developments.

The visit began with a welcome from Dr Derek Sandeman, chief medical officer, and the executive team to talk about the continuing challenges posed by the pandemic.

He was then taken on a tour of the near patient testing facility on the acute medical unit to showcase the work of Dr Tristan Clark and learn more about his rapid bedside test which takes under two hours to show results.

The results of a trial of the test led by Dr Clark at Southampton General Hospital earlier in the year were published recently in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal.

Professor Powis then met with researchers in the the Wessex Investigational Sciences Hub laboratory (WISH Lab) where he was given an insight into phase two salivary testing by Dr Tony Williams, consultant in clinical immunology and allergy.

He also discussed the development of a non-invasive home saliva test piloted in the city and led by Professor Keith Godfrey, professor of epidemiology and human development at the University of Southampton (UoS), which is being evaluated as a possible method for mass testing.

The visit was completed with a tour of the main pathology laboratory at UHS with Professor Powis introduced to Dr Emanuela Pelosi, consultant medical virologist, and team.

Dr Sandeman said: “It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to talk with Professor Powis about the outstanding efforts of staff across UHS to contend with the pandemic and do so with such fantastic resolve and spirit.

“He was really impressed by the way we were working together. It is clear we are ahead of the game and he will ask our teams to share our experience and help support others to catch up with our programmes.

He added: “While it has been a very challenging time, the experience has re-cemented the relationships between the university and UHS and I was immensely proud to showcase the work we are jointly leading with some excellent developments in testing developed and introduced in the city.”

Posted on Friday 30 October 2020