8th May 2020

Science Scottish firms step up in fight against virus

Science Scottish firms step up in fight against virus

Science

science ICL worker checks a visor during production processImage copyright
Andrew Leaver/ICL Tech

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ICL worker checks a visor during production process

Scottish companies are stepping up to provide essential equipment for frontline health workers fighting against coronavirus.

Plastics manufacturer ICL Tech has ramped up production of visors for NHS staff tackling the pandemic.

Drug discovery business Censo Biotechnologies will soon be able to complete 15,000 Covid-19 diagnostic tests a month.

And electronic firm Plexus has started producing ventilators for the NHS.

ICL Tech’s increase in production comes after a major order for 90,000 visors from Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board.

It switched its production facilities recently after winning an order to make visors for Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool.

Science ‘Huge demand for PPE’

The firm, which normally provides plastics for the transport, oil and gas and financial sectors, said it had diversified its operations to accommodate NHS needs.

It has ramped up production in the past week from 750 visors a day to 3,000.

ICL Tech general manager Mark McCracken said: “We are pleased we’ve been able to quickly diversify our operations to design and manufacture protective visors to support doctors and nurses, and other frontline workers, during this coronavirus pandemic.

”We, like other companies that have changed their set-up to help meet the huge demand for PPE (personal protective equipment), are in search of continuing supplies of plastic sheet.

“We are fortunate in that we’ve been able to rely on a number of responsive companies in our supply chain including plastics distributor Stockline Plastics Ltd, which is also based in Glasgow.”

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Censo

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Censo plans to process a minimum of 500 coronavirus diagnostic tests per day

Meanwhile, Censo Biotechnologies plans to “repurpose” its laboratories in Scotland and Cambridge to process a minimum of 500 coronavirus diagnostic tests every day.

The Midlothian-based company said the tests would help the NHS to test staff and “tell anxious patients whether or not they are suffering from the virus”.

Censo added that it had been able to “rise to this challenge” because of a recent injection of funds from its Edinburgh-based principal investor, venture capital firm Par Equity.

Science ‘Closer to home’

Censo chief executive Mike Hawthorne, said: “As a life science company we have spent 15 years finding ways of improving the lives of patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases around the world.

“But we are based in the UK and when the Covid-19 crisis emerged we saw an opportunity to help people much closer to home.

“We have been working with NHS Scotland for several weeks to see how our team and equipment can be used to run virus testing and we are now finalising exactly how we will work together.”

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Plexus

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Plexus facility in Kelso

Meanwhile, electronics manufacturing firm Plexus has started producing ventilators for the NHS at its Kelso facility to assist in the treatment of Covid-19 patients.

President and chief executive Todd Kelsey said: “Plexus is uniquely qualified to support the design, development and production of critical medical equipment that assists healthcare workers in the fight against Covid-19.”

As well as producing ventilators, US-based Plexus manufactures other medical devices such as infusion pumps, CT scanners, MRI machines, ultrasounds and mobile x-ray units.

Mr Kelsey added: “Our teams’ contributions throughout Plexus provide us the opportunity to directly and indirectly support the fight against Covid-19, while also contributing to the supply of those products that are essential and in dire need.”


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