Technicians behind the test

Getting tested for covid-19 has become a part of everyday life. Just the other week, the Government announced that everyone in England is able to do two rapid covid tests a week from Friday 9th April.

But have you ever stopped to think about how many technicians it takes to get you your test and result?

It all starts with producing the materials that make up the test – factories around the UK are making everything from the plastic vials that hold the swab to the complicated chemicals needed to detect the covid-19 virus.  

In every one of those factories technicians will be running and fixing machines, checking the quality of what they make and getting all the materials together to get you your test.

Once you’ve done your test the swab will make its way to a lab, if it’s a PCR test. Technicians then use cutting-edge equipment and science to turn the genetic material of the virus into DNA, times it by about 35 billion and attach fluorescent markers to it. A machine can then recognise the light produced as because of the covid-19 virus.

Once the result of the test is clear then the IT technicians get started! NHS Test and Trace is the government body that contacts people about their test results, and there are a huge number of IT technicians that keep everything going. They’re also involved in the modelling and statistics that help the government understand where new outbreaks might be occurring.

And of course, these are only the technicians who are directly involved! From servicing the trucks delivering the tests to building your smartphone which will ping you the result, without technicians the whole system just wouldn’t be possible.

Find out more about the kind of work technicians do by reading our technician stories, or head over to the National Careers Service to see if a job as a technician could be right for you.

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