Excalibur Healthcare Services will now operate University testingThisisEngineering/UNSPLASH

The Cambridge Lighthouse Laboratory, a coronavirus testing facility, closed last Monday (26/04) after its contract with the British government expired.

The Centre, based in the Anne McLaren Building on the Biomedical Campus, was set up in March 2020 as part of a collaboration between AstraZeneca, the University of Cambridge and GlaxoSmithKline to provide population-wide diagnostic testing. 

The facility, which hit a milestone of three million tests processed last month, made use of innovative automation, notably 14 robots, speeding up the rate of testing by six times.

Responsibility for asymptomatic testing within the University is now held by a private company, Excalibur Healthcare Services.

The company has stated that it will sustain the “comprehensive and highly accurate testing regime” and would continue to locate specific outbreaks of the virus among the student population.


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It will screen the 15,000 students living in halls and the 5,000 residing in private accommodation on a weekly basis at its laboratory in the Cambridge Science Park. 

Students will continue to be tested within their respective households. Each participant will, as before, provide a swab. The pooled samples will be tested as one to ensure efficient practice within the laboratories.

Professor Andy Neely, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Enterprise and Business Relations, stated: “We look forward to working with the professional team at Excalibur. Our partnership will be important in helping us maintain the highest standards of protection for our students, staff and members of the local community with whom they come into contact.”