Good News Stories from the Fight Against Covid-19 in Sheffield

By 24th April 2020 April 30th, 2020 Blog

We are collecting our favourite good news stories to celebrate the incredible work of technicians in the fight against Covid-19. Follow the links to read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 of our UK-wide stories. If you have any stories you’d like to share with us, please contact or tweet us @NTDCtweets.

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Technicians at the University of Sheffield are actively involved in increasing testing to combat the Covid-19 outbreak and are also in collaboration with Sheffield NHS Teaching Hospitals.

Technicians on the Covid-19 front line of research at the Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease (IICD) are actively involved in the development of novel ELISA kit components as well as a second study called the ISARIC study on the standards for large scale Coronavirus testing. The team includes technicians; Janine Phipps, Katie Cooke, Linda Kay, Jon Kilby, Hailey Hornsby, Yvonne Stephenson and Markus Ariaans with support from technicians in affiliated Departments (Mabrouka Maamra from Oncology & Metabolism and Matthew Wyles from Neuroscience).

An academic at the IICD has successfully produced SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in a mammalian cell culture assay. However, this is a very inefficient and expensive way of generating protein, requiring many litres of cell culture reagents and cell suspensions. Therefore, the IICD team of technicians are playing their essential part trying to replicate this work in bacterial cells, which would be a far cheaper way of generating spike proteins in much bigger quantities.


Janine Phipps reviewing colonies of competent E.coli bacteria to determine transformation success. These bacteria will hopefully start producing SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in large quantities, which can be used for test validations and designing novel ELISA assays.

More in Sheffield…

Futuristic headsets programmed to enable skilled aerospace and automotive production line operatives to rapidly switch to the manufacture of 10,000 life-saving medical ventilators were rushed from the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) in Rotherham to sites across the UK last week at the same time as its recently opened R&D facility in North Wales was turned into a production facility for the devices.

Read the full story here.

A Dronfield company has launched a temperature scanner that can pick out people with a fever at airports, supermarkets and factories. The ‘Viralert 2’ measures human body temperature to within half a degree – and alerts operators if it is elevated. Manufacturers Ametek Land say it could play a role in helping to contain the spread of coronavirus and they are in discussions with two supermarket chains, the NHS and private healthcare providers.

Read the full story here.