The UK Medical Research Council-funded TestEd research programme provides free Covid-19 testing for students and staff across the University.
TestEd uses saliva for PCR-based testing and has now tested more than 25,000 samples from staff and students across the University, with 10 positive results of staff or students who did not have symptoms of Covid-19 but, because they were carrying the virus, they were at risk of transmitting the infection to their contacts. Early self isolation was able to minimise this risk.
With support at many levels across the University, including Edinburgh University Students’ Association, Accommodation, Catering and Events, Estates, Waste and Furniture, and the University senior leadership, TestEd is now preparing for the return of existing students and arrival of new students in September.
From the present testing volume of around 2,000 per week, the TestEd laboratory is now fully automated and preparing to test up to 30,000 samples per week. TestEd plans to have capacity for testing all staff and students who are on campus twice per week through Semester 1, the aim being to minimise spread of the virus in the University community.
To allow for collection of this large number of samples, 18 sample collection locations across the University have been opened up where staff and students can provide a saliva sample to be tested. The most recent sample collection sites to open were at the Main Library, Edinburgh College of Art, the Informatics Forum and the School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures. A further seven locations will be opened by the end of August. Students and staff can provide their samples at any of the locations as named on this list.
TestEd provides results confidentially to participants, usually within 24 hours of sample collection. Further information, including how to participate, how and where to provide a sample and the overall aims of the programme can be found on the TestEd webpages.