More than 25 PhD students and research staff at Coventry University have volunteered to help University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) with testing patients for Covid-19.

Many of the volunteers are overseas students who cannot get home and want to help local NHS services amid the outbreak.

Some of the duties the student volunteers are capable of include extraction of DNA, which will then be tested for the Covid-19 strain.

Coventry University already trains hundreds of student nurses and allied healthcare professionals every year through its faculty of health and life sciences in Coventry and its campus in Scarborough – many of whom work on placements with local NHS trusts.

The university has also drawn up a list of equipment it could provide to the NHS to help it increase the number of tests it can carry out. Equipment such as DNA extraction kits have been put aside by the university, for use by the NHS if it needs to ramp up the number of tests it carries out for Covid-19.

Helen Maddock, executive director of Coventry University’s centre for sports, exercise and life sciences, said: “Some of the students who have volunteered are from France and Pakistan and are unable to get home themselves to be with their families but want to do whatever they can to support and help their local hospital during this unprecedented time. I am absolutely overwhelmed with the response and very proud of our students.”

She added: “We have been liaising with government officials, relevant biotechnology companies and UHCW over the weekend to collate what equipment and reagents we have available which could be used to help but we are waiting to hear back on what is needed and where. We are ready to do what we can to help.”

Date published: March 25, 2020

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