Dorset and Poole are playing their part in the fight against Covid-19. A key vaccine trial is starting in Bournemouth, and new mass-testing trials are being held in a Poole school.
The vaccine trial, taking place in Dorset’s new research hub at Royal Bournemouth Hospital (RBH), sees the people of Dorset come together with their NHS to find a way out of the coronavirus pandemic. Over 500 Dorset residents will take part, helping confirm the safety and effectiveness of a promising new vaccine developed by US biotechnology company Novavax.
In addition, the Health Secretary has announced a new, rapid form of testing which is being rolled out, known as "lateral flow". The tests involve swab samples and do not require a lab for processing, making the turn-around time for results within an hour and at the location where the test was taken. Once confirmed, these results will be notified to NHS Test and Trace, with those testing positive instructed to self-isolate. The Government hopes to make these available to local directors of public health to help in our current efforts to control localised outbreaks, especially in those areas subject to the 'Very High" Covid Alert Level.
Trials of the test are being run all over the country, including in some schools, where parents are asked if they agree for their children to be part of the research. Michael was delighted to hear that some of the trials for these new tests will be taking place locally in Dorset. He said "It's great that we have the chance here in Poole to help with the national progress towards faster tests, and I hope this will help to contribute towards fast mass testing for us all very soon".
The Government remains on track to be able to deliver 500,000 tests a day by the end of October, and it remains the case that anyone with symptoms should continue to self-isolate and book a test via the usual routes.
The Government is currently working to initiate these pilots across the UK, and it is in discussions with the devolved nations to establish these new technologies and how they can best be deployed to meet the needs of all four nations.