Transformative Role of SAMBA II in Winchester College’s COVID-19 Response

4 March 2024

Many congratulations to Dr John Cullerne, Undermaster at Winchester College, whose pioneering work on COVID-19 was recognised recently with an invitation to Buckingham Palace.

At the outset of the pandemic, and presented with the daunting challenge of how to accurately screen the College’s pupils before they returned to school, Dr Cullerne surveyed the different types of testing available, and noted that – with one exception –  systems required the presence of 1000 viruses within a single millilitre sample. The exception was Diagnostics for the Real World’s SAMBA II device – our fully automated ‘sample in, result out’ diagnostic machine for rapid point-of-care detection of infectious diseases.

With its capacity, at the time, to test at 250 per millilitre – a sensitivity four times that of conventional systems – Dr Cullerne recognised that DRW’s solution enabled the College to pool test and screen four pupils at a time, instead of one. This pool testing was unique, and made the screening of the entire pupil body possible in a way which was completely new. SAMBA II is currently deployed in over 100 UK hospital sites as one of the NHS’s primary point-of-care, non-lab-based COVID-19 testing solutions. SAMBA’s limit of detection is now improved to 150 copies/ml, demonstrating even greater performance.

Read more about how Dr Cullerne’s work, and how his ambitious and innovative solutions transformed Winchester College’s response to the COVID crisis here.

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