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Cancer researchers volunteer to assist in COVID19 testing

6 April 2020

ECSCRI laboratory

Cancer researchers from Cardiff University have volunteered their skills to help at the frontline of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Scientists from the European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute are helping to prepare diagnostic kits for patients in Wales, to ease pressure on the hospital staff. A team of volunteers from the Institute, alongside colleagues from the School of Biosciences, are using their labs during the UK-wide lockdown.

Dr Sarah Koushyar, Postdoctoral Researcher at the European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute and volunteer, said: “In these uncertain times, we all feel a little helpless and I wanted to be able to contribute in some way. Staff at the European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute have volunteered their skills to aid in preparing COVID-19 diagnostics for the University Hospital of Wales.

“A number of our scientists are working under strict safety and social distancing protocols to turn the teaching labs within the School of Biosciences into preparation areas. We will be readying the agents and chemicals needed in coronavirus diagnostics, which will be then taken to the hospital to be used in the testing and treatment of patients.”

The School of Biosciences is home to world-leading research and cutting-edge facilities. The teaching laboratories are equipped with the sterile fume hoods needed to prepare the chemicals for the COVID-19 testing kits. Whilst the School’s lock-down procedures are in place, scientists will be able to work under strict safety conditions.

Professor Matt Smalley, Director of the European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute, said: “I always feel privileged to be the Director of the Institute, as we are a team of dedicated scientists, working together to understand cancer stem cells and their role in cancer. But I feel especially proud to work with such outstanding scientists during this turbulent period. In these unprecedented and uncertain times, they have shown impressive resolve and determination to assist as much as possible in the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The scientists volunteering include Dr Sarah Koushyar, Dr Carlotta Olivero and Alex Gibbs.

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