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Scientists at UL prepare essential COVID-19 testing solution

Scientists at University of Limerick have created a testing solution for COVID-19 amid worldwide shortages of the crucial materials. In response to the global shortage of reagents and extraction kits for COVID-19 testing, scientists at UL’s Bernal Institute, plus the departments of chemical and biological sciences at UL, joined forces with other research centres and institutes to source materials and prepare a testing solution, which has fallen short of supply. The Lysis Buffer solution, which is critical for DNA extraction, was validated at University Hospital Limerick, where it is now being used. Dr Edel Durack, Instrument Scientist at Bernal Bio Laboratories and a team of technicians from the School of Natural Sciences at UL, prepared the solution, which is required to generate results from patient swabs. The solution can now be used for COVID-19 testing across Ireland. Pharmaceutical companies can now also rapidly produce batches of this solution to help meet the demand for testing patients. Dr Durack explained: “This …

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A clean bill of health

Environmental Protection Agency testing over the past three years has found that bathing waters in Clare are “excellent”. The EPA report Bathing Water Quality in Ireland – A Report for the Year 2015 published this week states that 93 per cent of Irish bathing waters meet minimum EU Standards and three quarters of bathing waters continue to be of Excellent quality for the second-year running. Fresh water bathing waters at Ballyalla Lake, Ballycuggeran and Mountshannon (Lough Derg) were found to be excellent in terms of their E. coli, intestinal enterococci and overall status as were Bishopsquarter, Cappagh Pier in Kilrush, Fanore, Kilkee, Lahinch, Spanish Point, White Strand Doonbeg and Whitestrand, Miltown Malbay. Traught in Kinvara was also found to be excellent for the three years between 2012 and 2015. “Despite a cool and, at times, wet and windy summer, the overall quality of Ireland’s bathing waters continues to be extremely good with the stricter standards providing a high level of …

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