Covid: UAE's twin lab hits new milestone, breaks 10 million test mark

Geneva - Unilabs to open a new branch, with a production capacity of 80,000 PCR tests per day.



By Wam

Published: Tue 27 Apr 2021, 7:24 AM

Last updated: Tue 27 Apr 2021, 7:36 AM

Unilabs, the leading European diagnostic group, has hit a key milestone in its fight against coronavirus, passing the 10 million Covid-19 test mark after hugely increasing both sampling and testing capacity.

Equipped with state-of-the-art technology, and with dedicated new labs in the UAE, Portugal, the Netherlands, and the UK, Unilabs’ current capacity exceeds 500,000 tests per week and rising.

Just recently, the Emirates International Accreditation Centre (EIAC) has granted Unilabs UAE the ISO accreditation for Covid-19 PCR testing, becoming the UAE’s first private laboratory institution to obtain this global accreditation.

Read: Inside UAE's twin labs that test 10,000 Covid-19 swabs per day

"Since December last year, we have doubled our Covid-19 test volumes – a remarkable achievement for our front-line teams across our seventeen countries," said Dr Christian Rebhan, Unilabs’ Chief Medical and Operations Officer. "As the vaccines are rolled out and the world prepares to open up again, testing remains crucial to quickly identifying and containing the virus wherever it turns up."

"Our teams have put their heart and soul into delivering this success, working tirelessly to ramp up capacity, secure supplies, take samples from our patients, and deliver accurate results as quickly as possible," said Timóteo Guimarães, who runs Unilabs' Covid-19 business unit.

For her part, Shimaa Sabri, Operations Director, Unilabs Middle East, stressed that Unilabs branch in the UAE has largely contributed to achieving this milestone thanks to the sustained support of the local health authorities, which provided us with all necessary resources and capabilities to facilitate our work, adding "We have always been keen to introduce innovative methods and technologies whilst following local regulations to enhance the process of the laboratory system in the UAE.

"Unilabs takes pride in supporting the ongoing efforts being made by the local health authorities in the fight against Covid-19, thanks to which the UAE has become the world’s first country in terms of screening per capita," Sabri stated.

She made it clear that the growing mutual trust with the Department of Health in Abu Dhabi prompted Unilabs to open a new branch in the Emirate, with a production capacity of 80,000 PCR tests per day.

The bulk of the tests are PCR tests. Unilabs also offers rapid antigen tests, as well as serology tests, which provide insight into the level of antibodies in a patient’s bloodstream, and thus the patients’ immune response to the virus. Demand for serology tests is rising as more people get vaccinated since these tests can evaluate the patient’s individual reaction to the vaccine.

Unilabs has also introduced innovative new techniques and technologies to improve, speed up, and broaden testing. This includes tests that specifically identify variants such as the UK or South African variant, as well as new kinds of tests such as saliva or gargling tests.

To minimise risks for patients and staff, Unilabs has also created innovative workflows, setting up more than two hundred drive- and walk-throughs. Unilabs also carries out some Covid-19 sampling at its roughly 1,000 regular collection centres. At the same time, it has introduced dedicated zones to allow vulnerable non-Covid patients – such as the elderly and the immuno-suppressed – to continue routine testing for other conditions.


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