1. ITV Report

Covid-19 testing starts at agri-food institute labs

Patient sample testing began at the AFBI's laboratories this week. Credit: PA

Testing for Covid-19 has started at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, boosting capacity in Northern Ireland.

It is being run by a consortium which includes Queen's University and Ulster University under the auspices of the Department of Health's Expert Advisory Group on Testing.

Patient sample testing began at the AFBI's laboratories this week.

It is expected to build up to delivering 1,000 tests per day, with further testing capacity, estimated to be an additional 400 tests per day, to be delivered by Ulster University in collaboration with the Western Trust.

Other collaborations are currently under development and are expected to come online in June.

Health Minister Robin Swann said increased testing capacity will help in the fight against Covid-19.

Health Minister Robin Swann praised the efforts of the HSC labs Credit: Pacemaker

"I am grateful to all colleagues in the consortium for their collective efforts, working together with colleagues in our HSC labs, to increase our capacity to provide quick, accurate diagnoses at such a crucial point in our fight against Covid-19," he said.

"This increased capacity will be key as we continue to deliver a robust response to this unprecedented pandemic and protect the health of our population."