In March 2020 the Fischer Family Trust supported a community response to Covid-19 by providing a supply chain of chemical reagents needed for PCR testing at SBL.
Throughout March and April, SBL tested staff at local GPs surgeries and care homes in Abingdon, Oxford twice weekly on a fast turnaround basis finding that asymptomatic screening was effective in keeping services ‘covid free’. This approach became a blueprint for later UK government staff screening in the NHS and care homes.
Mike and the team at SBL linked up with entrepreneurs Tim Perkin and Caroline Plumb to create a volunteer network of furloughed workers that supported other labs across the UK to do the same, and the network supplied its testing services to DHSC Test and Trace to support the national ramp up. This was the seed of the Covid Testing Network, that has since provided millions of PCR covid tests, connecting labs to their local care homes, provided regular screening for high risk workplaces and as part of the national testing programme in 2020.