BRITISH High Commissioner Dr Christian Turner and Ambassador-at-Large for Foreign Investments Ali Jeha­ngir Siddiqui being informed about the ‘robot-operated’ Covid-19 testing laboratory on Thursday.
BRITISH High Commissioner Dr Christian Turner and Ambassador-at-Large for Foreign Investments Ali Jeha­ngir Siddiqui being informed about the ‘robot-operated’ Covid-19 testing laboratory on Thursday.

ISLAMABAD: The first ‘robot-operated’ Covid-19 testing laboratory has been opened in Islamabad to incre­ase domestic testing capacity for the deadly disease.

Inaugurated by British High Commissioner Dr Christian Turner, the laboratory can process over 2,000 tests per day.

Future Trust in partnership with Opencell UK has launched the facility. Built in the United Kingdom by Opencell, the laboratory is a Biosafety Level 2 Plus facility that fulfilled ISO-15189 standards.

The state-of-the-art lab is specified to meet the requirements for high throughput Covid-19 RT-qPCR testing. Due to use of five liquid-handling robots, this lab requires as little as six staff members to operate all shifts.

Speaking at the inauguration of the lab, British High Commissioner Dr Turner thanked Ali Jeha­ngir Siddiqui, Ambassador-at-Large for Foreign Investments, for making him “excited about the project”. He highlighted various reasons why he thought Future Labs was something to celebrate. The first, he said, “is because this lab is a vibrant example of a UK-Pakistan relationship built on people that I am privileged to serve in the middle of”.

Secondly, he noted, the “UK is proud of having been in the forefront of the fight against Covid-19 in its efforts to pursue a vaccine and its distribution internationally, as well as for providing development assistance to a broad spectrum of Covid relief, through UK Aid, to Pakistan”.

Ambassador Siddiqui said: “I would like to thank High Commissioner Dr Christian Turner for joining us and supporting this project. This partnership between entities in the UK and Pakistan is of importance to us not just because the two countries are so close but also because this represents a partnership in life sciences which is the need for the world at this moment in time.”

Future Trust is a non-profit philanthropic organisation set up by JS Group that seeks to use advanced technology to address problems caused by poverty.

Published in Dawn, November 13th, 2020

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