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Pirbright to support national Track and Trace programme
The Pirbright Insitute will provide diagnostic training to staff joining the new BSPS Lighthouse Laboratory.
Scientists will play a key role in diagnostics training at the BSPS Lighthouse Laboratory.

The Pirbright Institute has announced it is to support the national NHS Test and Trace Programme by providing induction and training for staff joining the new Lighthouse Laboratory in Bracknell.

Operated by NHS Berkshire and Surrey Pathology Services (BSPS), the Lighthouse Laboratory is being established to test COVID-19 samples as part of the UK's efforts to tackle the coronavirus. 

To support the service, scientists at The Pirbright Institute will play a key role in diagnostics training, teaching newly-recruited staff how to use the state-of-the-art diagnostics equipment located at its Surrey campus. The induction programme will include sample management and bio-safety followed by a period of training in scientific diagnostic procedures. 

“We are extremely proud to offer our diagnostic expertise for training the Lighthouse Laboratory's new staff to the highest possible standard,” commented Pirbright's director, Professor Bryan Charleston. “The accommodation of the new training programme at Pirbright has happened at record speed, requiring our staff to adapt rapidly to ensure both the equipment and training protocols are ready to receive the first recruits for training.”

The Pirbright Institute is home to several Reference Laboratories in highly infectious viral livestock diseases, including African swine fever (ASF) and foot-and-mouth-disease (FMD). The Institute also has significant expertise in surveillance and diagnostics, particularly concerning disease outbreaks. 

The Institute will provide ongoing training to the Lighthouse Laboratory during 2021. It will also be offering up a number of its experienced scientists in secondment to the new facility to assist with high throughput diagnostics.

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Born Free video highlights how humans are to blame for COVID-19

News Story 1
 Wildlife charity Born Free has released a video emphasising the importance of changing the ways in which humans treat wildlife in order to prevent pandemics from occurring in the future.

The video, narrated by founder patron Joanna Lumley OBE, says: "To deal with the very immediate threat of another global catastrophe, we have to focus on ending the destruction and conversion of natural habitats and the devastating impact of the wildlife trade.

"The vast majority of these viruses originated in wild animals before infecting us. Destroying and exploiting nature puts us in closer contact with wildlife than ever before."

Born Free has compiled an online resource with information on how to take action and improve protections for wildlife here.

To view the video, please click here.

Images (c) Jan Schmidt-Burbach. 

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RVC opens 2021 Summer Schools applications

The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) has opened applications for its 2021 Summer Schools, with students in Years 10, 11 and 12 invited to apply.

Taking place between July and August 2021, the event gives budding vets from all backgrounds first-hand insight into what it's like to study at the Campus.

Much of this year's content is likely to be delivered virtually, including online lectures and practical demonstrations, but the RVC hopes to welcome each of the participants to campus for at least one day to gain some hands-on experience.

For more information about the Schools and to apply, visit: Applications close on the 2 March 2021.