One of the UK’s leading technology educators and innovators, Credersi, has teamed up with COVID testing solutions company DAM Health to create the world’s first virtual reality COVID-19 laboratory training syllabus.
The move aims to increase the number of laboratory staff being trained in the UK to meet a mass skills shortage and crisis. Research carried out by the Gatsby Foundation prior to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic indicated that, by 2030, the UK will require a further 700,000 laboratory staff to support the UK economy.
Given the magnitude of the pandemic, Credersi believes that the figure will have potentially doubled. The company believes that by increasing the number of trained laboratory staff, this will help in the long run to reduce the unit cost of COVID testing over time. Properly certified training and regulation will be the key to overhauling the COVID testing industry.
The collaboration will see Liverpool-based DAM Health supporting Manchester headquartered Credersi to bring technology into the laboratory by funding the construction of a virtual and augmented reality platform in which to train the laboratory staff of the future.
The first course under the new collaboration will be delivered in October this year as an eight-week immersive programme. The course will include components of science, data science, data analytical programming – to train students to extrapolate results from their work – and laboratory experiments built into the syllabus. The course can be accessed from wherever the student is studying and located in the world.
One example of the innovation being incorporated into the new course includes utilising a physical polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machine, which will then be used to model and render into a 3D virtual laboratory. This will allow the students to see an animated sequence of how to conduct a PCR test and use this as part of a wider training syllabus to educate the students with an immersive and interactive training module.
Andy Lord (CEO and co-founder of Credersi) said: “This is a really exciting project for us to team up with DAM Health and we are incredibly grateful for their support and patronage. The addition of the 3D modelling to develop a course that has elements uniquely focusing on COVID-19 and PCR is a real game-changer.
Darren Coomer (a co-founder at Credersi) said: “It has been a passion of mine to take science into schools and colleges and inspire the next generation of brilliant minds. COVID-19 has been such a big part of everyone’s lives for the last 18 months, this course will teach and train laboratory staff about how PCR tests are processed in the laboratory using the latest technology. But even more amazingly, when we take this into schools and colleges, we can show young children what a career in science looks and feels like.