In response to the global shortage of reagents and extraction kits for Covid19 testing, scientists at the Bernal Institute, Chemical Science and Biological Science depts and the SSPC, the SFI Research Centre for Pharmaceuticals at the University of Limerick have joined forces with other National Institutes and Pharma companies in sourcing reagents and preparing a testing solution which has in recent times fallen short of supply. This testing solution has been validated by University Hospital Limerick so can now be used for Covid-19 testing across Ireland.

Dr Edel Durack, Instrument Scientist at Bernal Bio Laboratories and a team of technicians from the School of Natural Sciences at the university prepared a lysis buffer solution (based on a protocol published in 1990 by Boom et al on “Rapid and simple method for purification of nucleic acids”) critical for RNA extraction which is required to generate results from patient swabs.

The solution was validated at UCHL on 30th March 2020.  Pharmaceutical companies can now rapidly produce batches of this solution to help meet the demand for testing patients.

Dr Sarah Hudson, Researcher and Lecturer in Chemistry, coordinating the efforts from the University of Limerick said “It has been extraordinary how open and rapid the collaboration, initiated by Humphrey Moynihan from Eli Lilly, has been – from sourcing reagents, finalising the procedure and producing the buffer to validating it at the hospital. Everyone wants to help anyway they can.”