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Earlier this week we held a virtual webinar and discussion with NHS labs on the Testing Methods platform. It was wonderful to have so many people join, over 300 attendees, including peers across the UK and internationally. It was also excellent to see those new to this effort join the conversation and consider how they take part.

We held thought provoking discussions on how we as national partners can support labs in using novel testing approaches. Attendees made valuable points to help us in shaping our platform, challenges and future events. In taking forward, we look forward to updating you and will be running another webinar session in the next fortnight.
We have highlighted two new solutions from the platform, to see below. Do continue to look into these, try these out and run validation. And if you are a first-time reader, we do also encourage you to look at the previous bulletins and the 13 solutions these cover on RNA extraction, transport media and dry swabs. 

Professor Dame Sue Hill, Chief Scientific Officer, NHS England and Improvement

Professor Jo Martin, President, Royal College of Pathologists

On behalf of the moderators’ group.

We are delighted at the continued support from the scientific and diagnostic community, as we reach over 200 submissions on the crowdsourcing platform launched to solve pressing challenges in COVID-19 testing.

We have also now added a fifth challenge, asking for examples of small volume blood collection for rapid serology testing.We are sharing further solutions which we believe, firstly, have potential for rapid uptake and, secondly, can address the current challenges in testing at scale.

We continue to ask for your help in understanding how these approaches work in practice. Do please consider these approaches where they fit your local context, and continue to test and validate these so we can begin to take your feedback.

Professor Dame Sue Hill, Chief Scientific Officer, NHS England and Improvement 

Professor Jo Martin, President, Royal College of Pathologists

On behalf of the moderators’ group.

On Friday 10th April we launched a crowdsourcing platform to seek ideas and solutions to four specific challenges, identified as part of the nationwide programme to scale up our COVID-19 testing programme across the UK. This has been a coalition of groups from the NHS, Department of Health and Social Care, BioIndustry Association, Bio In Vitro Diagnostic Association, Royal College of Pathologists, Medallia Crowdicity and our scientific community in health services, universities and industry.

We have had an outstanding response from colleagues across the country with more than 140 submissions to date and several suggestions that are ready to be adopted and scaled up. This bulletin focusses on sharing innovations in RNA extraction that may help solve some of the current challenges. More are coming in, so this is the first wave!

We now need your help: the aim of the crowdsourcing work was to find solutions that could be adopted straightaway. The solutions below have been assessed by our moderators as having that potential. Please will you look at them, make local decisions on which protocols might be useful in your context and validate them in your usual way. Clearly not all methods will be applicable to all. w

RNA Extraction suggestions

RNA extraction free and heat treatment free COVID-19 PCR direct from swab method

 • NWLP extraction free protocol - Using SPS and Non-proprietary buffer with the AusDiagnostics SARS CoV-2 assay

Beads based method for RNA extraction

Fast and scalable extraction protocol from AusDx

Heat inactivation, no extraction needed 

Our first priority is to spread solutions that can help to scale up testing. We will continue to send you this bulletin with potential solutions. At the same time, we would like to know if these ideas are usable and being put into practice. Next week we will send you a quick and easy survey to understand your experience with these solutions. 

If you have any questions, want to suggest the names of other people who should receive this bulletin or are able to tell us about your experience with this solution, please contact

In the meantime, the crowdsourcing platform will remain open so please keep adding your solutions, ideas and comments at

Thank you for everything that you are doing!

Professor Dame Sue Hill, Chief Scientific Officer, NHS England and Improvement

Professor Jo Martin, President, Royal College of Pathologists

On behalf of the moderators’ group.