British High Commissioner opens first robot-operated COVID lab in Islamabad

The lab, which only needs six staff members, can conduct 2,000 tests daily

British High Commissioner Dr. Christian Turner inaugurated the first ‘robot-operated’ Covid-19 testing laboratory in Islamabad to increase domestic testing capacity for the deadly disease. The laboratory will be able to conduct 2,000 tests daily. The lab requires only six staff members in all shifts to operate as it uses five liquid handling robots.

The state of the art lab was launched by Future Trust in partnership with Opencell UK. It meets the ISO-15189 standards for a Biosafety Level 2 Plus facility. The lab is specified to meet the requirements for high throughput Covid-19 RT-qPCR testing.

The British High Commissioner said that the lab is an example of friendship between Pakistan and the UK. He also said that his country is proud to be at the forefront of finding a cure for the virus.  

“It 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,” Turner said. “UK is proud of having been at 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”.

Pakistan’s Ambassador at large for foreign investments was also present at the occasion. He thanked the British High Commissioner and said that such partnerships in life sciences are the need of the hour.

“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,” Siddiqui said.

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