TEESSIDE University will be part of a new testing programme using lateral flow tests which could lead to faster, more widespread testing nationwide, as part of the Government’s UK-wide continuing drive to increase the availability of mass testing.

The university will be working closely with NHS Test and Trace to offer students free Lateral Flow tests, so that students without symptoms, who may be infectious but unaware, are able to get tested and asked to self-isolate if they are.

Lateral Flow tests can produce results more quickly than the current PCR tests used across the NHS to test those with symptoms.

The testing site will be located at the University’s central Middlesbrough campus from 30 November. Although part of the NHS testing programme, the testing centre is a designated facility for university students and is not open to members of the public, unlike the existing community testing site also hosted on the University campus for those with symptoms.

Teesside University Pro Vice-Chancellor for Learning and Teaching, Professor Mark Simpson, said: “We are pleased to have the opportunity to offer this quick and easy testing option to our students and enable them to make an informed decision about returning home for the upcoming Christmas break.

“Teesside has many students who commute onto campus each day, but for those resident in Middlesbrough during term-time, there has been considerable anxiety and a need for reassurance that they can leave their student residence and spend time with family and loved ones, whilst minimising the risk of viral transmission.

“Whilst the test only shows if an individual is clear of infection at the time of testing, this will certainly enable our students to make an informed choice regarding when they travel and if a period of self-isolation is required before departure.

“We encourage our students to book a test at their earliest opportunity, in line with the commitment in our Campus Community Pledge to take collective responsibility for halting the spread of Covid-19.”