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Oxford Nanopore

SES' Vital Role in Pioneering Mobile Covid Testing Laboratories

In the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, Oxford Nanopore sought Special Event Services (SES) with a crucial request: to convert a second-hand expanding truck into a mobile laboratory capable of utilising Oxford Nanopore's cutting-edge LamPORE GridON technology. This endeavour served as proof of concept, demonstrating the potential for such units to function as Covid testing laboratories and for various other testing applications.

The collaboration between SES, Oxford Nanopore, and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) led to a monumental achievement. Four regional mobile testing laboratories were constructed from SES' inventory of large podded and gullwing units. Originally designed for broadcast, exhibitions, and marketing purposes, these units underwent a swift transformation into fully functional medical-grade laboratories.

To meet the demanding deadline, SES' workshop swiftly expanded from a team of 10 to an impressive 52, including newly recruited fabricators, carpenters, and electricians. The DHSC also contributed valuable resources, dispatching 5 Force Support Battalion Reme, who brought with them their specialised expertise in fabricating and electronics

In a testament to SES' ingenuity, many essential components, from Heppa stand bases to aluminium steps and handrails, had to be meticulously manufactured in-house due to the unavailability of these on the market. Reme's engineering 3D modelling department played a crucial role in crafting brackets and other critical elements.

Following DHSC's approval, the SES operations team swiftly deployed these units across Scotland, the Midlands, and the South-East. One unit remained on-site in the SES carpark for training and testing in the Midlands before being redeployed. SES' operation team then took charge of day-to-day operations and site deployments, staying on-site to ensure seamless functionality.

Furthermore, SES played a pivotal role in ensuring the mobility of the technicians involved, providing people carriers and transportation for daily pick-ups and drop-offs to and from the clinical teams operating within these units.

This collaborative effort between SES, Oxford Nanopore, and the DHSC stands as a testament to the remarkable adaptability and resourcefulness displayed in the face of unprecedented challenges, contributing significantly to the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

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