3 April 2020

IGC provides resources to hospitals during the pandemic

Scientists integrate diagnostic laboratories to increase responsiveness

Highly trained and qualified resources, 76 IGC scientists are available to join diagnostic lab teams from several hospitals that perform COVID 19 tests. During a critical period  when Portugal is coping with COVID19 pandemic and having in mind the growing requests for tests in Portuguese hospitals, it is urgent to increase the service’s capacity and responsiveness.

IGC director, Mónica Bettencourt Dias, recognizes that in a period where we all need to be involved “IGC has to be part of the solution with initiatives in several areas, the most compelling being the diagnostic one: doing tests in the Genomic Unit equipment of IGC, developing alternative tests, and placing scientists where they are needed, particularly at hospitals”.

West Lisbon Hospital Center is one of the first hospital unities to enlarge its teams in Lisbon region. IGC researchers have already started integrating laboratories teams that work in 24 hours shifts, 7 days of the week, and it is expected that the number of requests will escalate in the next weeks.

“We know the techniques and equipment and can quickly help to increase the responsiveness of these laboratories. I was warmly welcomed in the team and it is rewarding to be able to help in a challenging moment like this one” says Sílvia Costa, IGC researcher, one of the first volunteers to collaborate with the Molecular Biology and Clinic Microbiology Lab of West Lisbon Hospital Center.

The lab works in shifts, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and “all help is appreciated”, as Cristina Toscano, Head of the Molecular Biology and Clinical Microbiology Laboratory of West Lisbon Hospital Center, states. “IGC researchers integrate our teams and in an initial stage they are trained so they can adapt to our workflows and equipment and afterwards they reinforce the COVID 19 diagnostic teams, which allows us to increase our responsiveness at a time of growing demand.

Champalimaud Foundation researchers have already joined IGC researchers in this effort and another hospital unit will also start integrating researchers at its laboratories, Hospital Fernando da Fonseca. There are many researchers that want to contribute whether in hospitals or in other initiatives, a clear example of the synergy between hospitals and research institutions in the fight against COVID19.