Chesterford Research Park based Oncologica, a leading cancer medicine and Covid-19 genomic sequencing laboratory is pleased to announce that its Cambridge based testing laboratory is now the first UK laboratory to receive approval by UKAS and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to perform Covid PCR testing requirements for day 2 and day 8 as part of the new requirements for Covid International travel certification.

The high throughput laboratory which can process up-to 40,000 Covid-19 tests per day, has undergone a rigorous audit process by the DHSC and UKAS inspectors of its Oncology and Covid-19 PCR genomic testing processes for their personalized cancer medicine and Covid-19 PCR testing /viral genomic sequencing services. These testing capabilities will expedite the UK’s return to work and mitigate the risk of superspreading Covid-19 variants in the population. Their state-of-the-art precision cancer medicine genomic profiling services are providing cancer patients with new therapeutic opportunities should standard treatment protocols such as chemotherapy prove inadequate.

Assessments were made of the laboratory’s patient sample collection process, interpretation of results methodologies, turnaround times, as well as an inspection of how the company educates and trains its medical laboratory scientists and clinicians and how the organization communicates and consults with health care professionals.

As of February 15th, 2021, all international travellers to the UK from “red list” countries were required to quarantine for 10 days and undergo a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) Covid-19 test, this is the gold standard for coronavirus detection. On days 2 and 8, if the traveller tests positive, then the sample must be sent to a government-approved lab for genomic sequencing. This is to alert health professionals to potential superspreading coronavirus variants e.g., the UK Kent, Brazilian and South African variants

“It is an honour to be the first UK laboratory Covid PCR test and release provider to achieve accreditation for our Covid-19 International travel testing service. At Oncologica, we are committed to achieving and maintaining the highest standard of quality and service in all aspects of our laboratory testing,” said Dr Marco Loddo, Co-Founder and Scientific Director at Oncologica. This commitment is underpinned by the hard work of our entire quality, bioscience and administration teams which has resulted in our achieving this approval.”

“We are immensely proud of Oncologica achieving government approval as the first UK genomic testing laboratory in the UK to be put on the Governments provider list to undertake day 2 and day 8 Covid-19 PCR testing for travel which is no mean feat.” said Professor Gareth Williams, Co-Founder and Medical Director at Oncologica.” We are committed to providing a first-class genetic testing service to all of our clinical partners, patients, business community and the general public, and we demonstrate the highest quality standards whether it is for improving cancer treatment opportunities for patients or for Covid-19 testing across the community. Covid-19 testing is presently being undertaken for businesses, offices, factories, educational institutions, and transport networks facilitating a safe return to work and enabling people to travel.”

“On receipt of our Coronafocus© self-sampling PCR kits, we extract the RNA genetic material out of the sample and copy it into DNA. Now if the virus is there, it is in a DNA form. We put it into a PCR reaction (Polymerase Chain Reaction) and take short snippets of DNA and match these to the virus DNA. If we find the virus DNA, we start a chemical reaction that copies the virus again and again, so that we have lots of copies. We then look at the sample copies. If there is no reaction, then no virus is detected. The Oncologica Covid-19 PCR test is very sensitive and specific. If the Oncologica test finds it, you can believe it.”

“We understand the importance of our medical genomic laboratory to patient care. Therefore, for those who use our Oncofocus©cancer and Coronafocus© Covid PCR tests, this accreditation will give added assurance that their testing requirements will be performed to the highest standards for rapid and accurate results,” added Dr. Marco Loddo.