UK Biocentre reaches COVID-19 testing milestone
UK Biocentre reaches COVID-19 testing milestone.
20 million tests analysed at Milton Keynes COVID-19 laboratory.

The COVID-19 testing laboratory in Milton Keynes has now processed over 20 million swab samples.

UK Biocentre, a world-leader in sample processing, was the first laboratory commissioned by the UK Government to test COVID-19 samples from the public. Hundreds of scientists and support staff have been supporting COVID-19 testing at the Milton Keynes site since March 2020.

UK Biocentre, a not-for-profit organisation, provides diagnostics, data sampling and storage on a national scale to universities, the NHS, the government and other organisations. The laboratory uses innovative, and highly automated state-of-the-art technology to ensure sample control with regards to temperature and storage. Its cost-effective extraction techniques can be scaled to suit a range of organisations and industries.

Dr Tony Cox OBE, Chief Executive at UK Biocentre, said:
“I want to take this opportunity to thank all our UK Biocentre colleagues and partners for their professionalism and sheer hard work to support the national testing effort. Processing over 20 million samples is a tremendous achievement. Testing gives people the information they need – either to self isolate or continue with everyday life. At UK Biocentre, we have built a highly accurate, scalable testing capability utilising our expertise in diagnostics and biosample processing. We are pleased to play our part, contributing to the country’s testing effort and ensuring the nation has a world class testing facility.”

Phil Eeles, Chief Operating Officer at UK Biocentre, said:
“On 19 March 2020 we received the call to establish a COVID-19 testing laboratory. We received the first 16 samples just four days later and, with the incredible support of staff, volunteers, academic institutions, business partners, suppliers and even the Army, we began to scale rapidly moving from a manual process to highly automated systems. In June 2020, we hit a major milestone by processing over 1 million samples, an incredible achievement within 3 months from a standing start and in February 2021 we reached 10 million.”

“UK Biocentre has transformed over the last 18 months to the extent that it is almost unrecognisable. Major building work has been required to reconfigure our premises, we have expanded from 40 to over 800 colleagues and successfully onboarded the very latest ePCR testing technology so that we can deliver high volume accurate testing.”

“The magnitude of testing more than 20 million samples cannot be overstated and is entirely due to the efforts of our incredible team.”

For media enquiries about the national testing effort and all media bids, please contact the DHSC press office on 020 7210 4850.

For media enquiries about UK Biocentre including its role in testing, please contact:

James McCollum, 07903 741829 or
James Ford, 07974 565425 or

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