Testing is vital for us to live with viruses - expert

Published: 19 January 2022 at 14:30

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World-leading PCR researcher to discuss future of testing in free online talk

Rapid testing carried out at the point of care is essential if we are to contain future outbreaks of COVID-19, according to world-renowned PCR expert Professor Stephen Bustin, who is giving a free online talk next week (26 January).

Professor Bustin, who is Professor of Molecular Medicine at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), will give an online seminar on how we can speed up the PCR testing process to allow people to go about their lives quicker, or ensure they are isolating in time to prevent further spread of the virus.

He will also explain the different types of testing, and talk about other critical issues facing public health that could lead to future pandemics, such as antimicrobial resistance and zoonotic spillover – the transmission of a pathogen from an animal to a human.

Professor Bustin is a leading expert in quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), which is widely used to detect infectious COVID-19 in cells. He has developed a rapid PCR test alongside colleagues at Chelmsford’s Broomfield Hospital, which gives results in under 20 minutes.

Professor Bustin said:

“Testing remains absolutely crucial to identify, locate and contain any future outbreaks, not only of COVID-19 but any future new viruses. Results need to come back rapidly so that we can react quicker to stop an outbreak if a positive reading is received. 

“Making testing quicker and easier would also result in more people being willing to take them – at the moment people have to put their lives on hold while they wait a day or so for a PCR result.

“The future is rapid testing at convenient locations. That could be at a doctor’s surgery, at an airport or even a shopping centre. This seminar will talk about how we can improve testing to make living with COVID-19 and other new viruses a lot easier.” 

The online seminar will take place on Wednesday, 26 January at 1pm, and attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions. For more details on how to attend, email [email protected]