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Testing times: UCB volunteers are ramping up COVID-19 testing

Luc Uylenbroeck, Global Strategy Planning& Portfolio Management
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Luc Uylenbroeck, Global Strategy Planning& Portfolio Management

UCB is participating in a national consortium, bringing together Public and Private partners across Belgium to support national efforts to scale up COVID-19 testing to help tackle the ongoing pandemic.   

We have set up dedicated analysis facilities in our labs in Braine- l’Alleud to perform PCR tests on patient samples for the possible presence of coronavirus.

As part of our engagement in this initiative, UCB is engaging committed scientists and technical experts to support the conduct of the (laboratory) analyses and provide scientific input to assist national efforts to scale up testing capacity in the country.

Our rapid response has been made possible thanks to the tireless work of colleagues and collaboration with multiple partners.

UCB received its first samples for testing in the first half of April and continues to increase the number of tests it performs to assist the national testing efforts. We already have 39 colleagues carrying out tests and around 15 more in training to support clinicians in shifts across 7 days a week.

This is a joint effort of a consortium of one central reference lab (UZ Leuven), 5 analysis labs: University of Liège, UCB, GSK, JNJ and Biogazelle, logistics (PPD, Cerba Research), Information Technology partners (Ugentec, MIPS, Itsme) and suppliers. This platform was set up with the Federal Government and the Task Force of Minister Philippe De Backer.

The UCB lab is supporting the testing of samples collected from patients throughout Belgium, which are delivered daily by a recognized sample management organizations, engaged as part of the federal platform. The results are directly encoded in a centralized database used nationally to  communicate the results back to the centers engaged by the Belgian Health Authorities and ultimately communicated to physicians and patients.

The enthusiasm and dedication of those who have made this happen is truly inspiring. UCB is proud to be able to contribute to the response to the current healthcare crisis in such a meaningful way, while continuing our critically important core work for those patients with serious illnesses.

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