Everything you need to know about Edinburgh uni’s TestEd Covid testing project

Basically all you have to do is spit in a cup

Edinburgh university has announced that all students can now sign up for free rapid and accurate asymptomatic testing for Covid, using a testing method piloted by Edinburgh uni which uses saliva sampling rather than a swab up the nose and at the back of the throat.

Originally the TestEd project was only open for members of staff, but now both staff and students can sign up to try this non invasive form of Covid testing.

This way of testing is still being trialled by the university, so they are looking for as many volunteers as possible.

Here’s everything you need to know about TestEd:

What is TestEd?

TestEd is a project by Edinburgh university looking to improve and develop asymptomatic testing for Covid, while also reducing infection rates among the staff and student population.

Until now testing has mainly focused on symptomatic testing of Covid, but the TestEd team say that this is not enough to reduce transmission of the virus.

They say that the current methods of asymptomatic testing like lateral flow are either too labour intensive or too costly for large-scale testing.

The team has discovered a way to do rapid, cost-effective asymptomatic testing which does not require a nose and throat swab. Instead, you just need to give a saliva sample (basically spit into a cup).

How does it work?

As TestEd is still a working project, it is only open to Edinburgh university staff and students on a voluntary basis at the moment.

Those who sign up will also be given a post-test questionnaire about how Covid testing has affected their behaviour and compliance with guidelines and regulations, test and protect, and other preventive measures such as the vaccine.

According to the TestEd team, giving a saliva sample is a quick, easy and a non-invasive process.

It involves depositing a small amount of saliva into a small cup, which is then placed in a tube with a sample barcode.

There are two barcodes involved: a participant barcode and a sample barcode.

The participant barcode is unique to each participant and needs to be brought every time a sample is given. The sample barcode is unique for every sample.

You can watch a demonstration video of the whole process here.

Results of the test will then be emailed to you, with a text alerting you that they are ready to view first. You will normally receive your results mid-late afternoon the day after you donate a sample.

How can I sign up?

The TestEd registration form can be found on this page.

Registration for TestEd requires your university email address, university username and password. You’ll also need to give a few details about yourself such as your name, email address, and mobile number.

Then you’ll be given a study participant number and barcode and the Participant Information Sheet. Once you have read this you will be asked to consent to the study and asked to complete a short demographic form.

You’ll also be asked to choose a test site that suits you the most, with multiple locations around the city available, including Main Library. A map of all locations can be found here.

All information about the TestEd project can be found on their webpage.

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