Joint efforts of UNamur and CHU UCL Namur to drive one of the 8 new Belgian Covid-19 testing platforms

The UNamur and the CHU UCL Namur will collaborate to form one the eight new consortia aiming to expand Covid-19 testing capacity, in support to the accredited clinical biology laboratories.

Congestion at screening sites in Wallonia and Brussels inexorably leads to a complete overload of the laboratories. Due to lack of human resources and reagents, these labs no longer have the capacity to meet testing demands. Therefore, the Belgian government decided to set up a platform “Bis” to increase the national testing capacity and to rely on an alternative solution overcoming shortage of specific detection kit components. The strategy has an ambitious goal of 70.000 tests per day for the country from November onwards. This is twice as much as the current testing capacity.

The Namur consortium, driven by the UNamur and the CHU UCL Namur, will allow the analysis of 2.000 tests per day as of November and December. The capacity could further evolve to 7.000 tests a day in 2021, depending on the evolution of the health situation. The aim is to provide test results within 24 hours and to communicate the overall results to Sciensano on a daily basis.

The project will benefit from the strong complementarity between the Department of Pharmacy of the UNamur, led by Prof. Jean-Michel Dogné, and the Department of Clinical Biology of the CHU UCL Namur, led by Prof. François Mullier. The two departments have already a rich and productive experience in working together under the NARILIS institute. This new university-hospital partnership will further strengthen the long-lasting links between the UNamur and the CHU UCL Namur, taking on a broader national and official dimension.

The 7 other consortia are ULB & IBC’LAB, UCLouvain & Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc Bruxelles, ULiège & CHU Liège, UMons & Hôpital de Jolimont, KU Leuven & UZ Leuven, UAntwerp & UZA and UGent & UZ Gent.