Testing the Nation a Big Tent Digital Event
Mass testing needed to get us out of COVID-19 crisis
Accelerating the fight against COVID-19 will require a global scale-up of manufacturing of diagnostic tests, and the UK needs a senior minister with sole responsibility for mass testing. These were some of the views expressed in Big Tent Ideas’ first digital event of 2020, hosted on Zoom on the evening of 30 April.
The call for a new ministerial appointment came from Ryan Wain, Strategic Advisor to the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change:
“Mass testing is the cornerstone of any viable exit strategy from this lockdown. It must sit alongside other measures including contact tracing and shielding. For this to be rolled out we need to see the appointment of a senior minister with sole responsibility for testing, reporting to the prime minister. On top of the superlabs already created across the country, we need to make sure smaller labs are also working at full capacity, new testing innovations are properly cultivated and scaled, and that the preparation for community testing starts now. Accomplishing this is possible, but will require extraordinary leadership and coordination.”
Professor Paul Davis, co-founder and chief scientific officer at Mologic, discussed how his firm has developed independently validated antibody tests and made ready for scaled-manufacture with capability to process tens of thousands of results every day – relieving testing pressures in both the UK and Africa:
“Extraordinary efforts are currently being made to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, and to Mologic it is clear that focus needs to be on not only the mass production of tests, but finding ways of delivering them to everyone in need, wherever they live, while maintaining transparency, responsiveness, and open collaboration.”
The Big Tent Ideas Festival and Foundation would like to express their grateful thanks to our speakers, Polly Mackenzie, Paul Davis and Ryan Wain for their excellent and insightful discussion.