New coronavirus testing ‘mega labs’ to open in 2021

The two labs will increase testing capacity by 600,000 when operating at full capacity.

New coronavirus testing ‘mega labs’ to open in 2021 Getty Images
Coronavirus: Two new 'mega labs' to open in early 2021.

A “mega lab” will open in Scotland early next year as part of efforts to double the UK’s coronavirus testing capacity.

The lab and one other will increase testing capacity by 600,000 when operating at full capacity, providing faster turnaround for results.

A second site, based in Leamington Spa in England, will also open. The location of the Scottish lab is unconfirmed.

The project will create up to 4000 jobs, according to the UK Government.

The two labs will be used to improve diagnostic capabilities for critical illness – including cancer, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases – as well as processing Covid tests.

A recruitment drive for the lab in Scotland will begin once site details are confirmed.

Matt Hancock, UK Government health secretary, said: “The radical expansion of testing has been one of the successes of this pandemic, as it means more people can get a test more conveniently than ever before.

“We didn’t go into this crisis with a significant diagnostics industry, but we have built one, and these two mega labs are another step forward.

“Transforming the UK’s diagnostic facilities is not only essential to beating this virus, but it is necessary to build back better – so we are better prepared in future for testing on a massive scale.”

Scotland’s health secretary Jeane Freeman called the Scottish lab an “important step in our fight against the virus”.

“The location of the mega lab in Scotland is still to be confirmed and we are working closely with our counterparts in the UK Government on this,” she added.