Stephenson and Van Mildert livers-in have been asked to join a Covid-19 testing pilot

The test is meant to identify those most at risk of spreading the virus

The university announced today that all livers-in and staff at both Mildert and Stevo have been asked to join “a pilot of a new Covid-19 testing technology” which will begin next week.

The two colleges have been chosen in the hopes that the pilot will ‘assist in reducing the spread’ of the virus as positive cases continue to rise at both sites.

The pilot programme is to help develop Covid-19 testing technologies to identify those who are “most at risk of spreading” the virus, these individuals will have “high enough levels of the Covid-19 virus in their body, to make them infectious to others” but will appear asymptomatic. This type of testing is called The Lateral Flow Test and is being developed “by the University in partnership with the Department for Health and Social Care, the University of Oxford and Public Health England”.

The testing technology has already completed successful clinical testing phases and participation in the pilot is on a voluntary basis in which students and staff will have to opt-in to the trial. Relevant training on how to take the test, which requires swabbing the throat and nose, will be given to all participants. Tests are to be self-administered by participants and results are available in 20-30 minutes.

Any positive tests from students and staff during the pilot will also require a normal NHS test in order to confirm the result. The university says that these will be “readily available” to those partaking in the pilot.

The university hopes that through this pilot, students and staff will change their behaviours in order to break “the chains of transmission” and reduce infection across Durham. Should the pilot be successful, “testing may be rolled out more broadly across the University and asymptomatic students and staff may be invited to take part in repeated testing on a regular basis”.

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