Lab is ‘world-class testing facility the envy of the rest of many countries’ – Premier
Bermuda has one of the best Covid-19 testing regimes in the world, according to the Premier.
David Burt added that countries were following Bermuda as a model to improve their own testing rates.
Mr Burt was speaking at the official opening of a new premises for the Molecular Diagnostic and Research Laboratory on Middle Road in Warwick yesterday.
Mr Burt said that the MDRL – the first laboratory of its kind in Bermuda – had processed 325,000 coronavirus tests since it started work at a temporary facility at Southside in April 2020.
He said: “Bermuda’s coronavirus testing regime has consistently remained one of the strongest around the world, ranking us in the top ten since last year.”
The premier added that the lab was “a world-class testing facility that is the envy of the rest of many countries worldwide”.
“Some of these countries have even reached out to us to try and better understand the model we have in place and how we can process and turn around results so quickly and efficiently.”
The Premier praised Government’s scientific adviser, Carika Weldon, for helping set up the laboratory, and then run it.
He said: “Dr Weldon had a vision when she returned home to help her country. By utilising her scientific expertise as well as her desire to help other young Bermudians interested in this field.
“Government was proud to support that dream and saw the leadership that Dr Weldon could provide to help Bermuda manage through the pandemic
“She quickly set up a testing regime that helped save lives and keep her country informed of the situation that we were facing with the coronavirus.”
The Premier said that Dr Weldon had taken on many young scientists and lab assistants “who have done an outstanding job”.
He added: “I am proud that, thanks to the efforts of so many Bermudians, we have the resources we need to do critical scientific work here for ourselves. We must believe in the talents of our highly educated and trained young Bermudians, knowing they have and will continue to do the job that is expected of them.”
The Premier said MDRL is an example of how public supported institutions can help to reduce healthcare costs while providing valuable opportunities for Bermudians to advance.
Dr Weldon completed her first degree in biomedical science in the UK ten years ago.
She said: “I did not dream from ten years ago that I would be standing in Bermuda in a lab. I am very humbled and honoured to bring to fruition my dream.”
The facility currently employs 20 staff.
“To be able to see them utilise what they learnt at university when they did not think they would be able to come back to Bermuda and use it – that is what drives me every day,” Dr Weldon said.
She added that the facility will be looking to expand its role by carrying out genetic research.
And she agreed with the Premier’s remarks that Bermuda had become a world leader in Covid-19 testing.
“We are a little island but we have a punch,” she said.