12 May 2021

Covid Mutant Monitoring Labs Installed On Gateway East Site

Stanhope, Mitsui Fudosan and AIMCo announce today that a sequencing laboratory for COVID mutant monitoring has been temporarily installed on the Gateway East site at White City Place to help in the fight against the pandemic. This is located alongside a larger installation also today of rapid response shipping-container laboratories for COVID19 PCR testing.

This is the first time a dedicated testing and sequencing laboratory will be deployed together. Although the UK has some of the most advanced DNA sequencing capability, sequencing of the COVID genome is still limited and more capacity is needed. The concern is that more mutations may occur and that vaccines may not be effective on these variants. Mutations in the region of the viral genome responsible for the “spike protein” are causing particular concern and have already been identified in South Africa, the United Kingdom and Brazil.

Jonathan Trout, Property and Commercial Director, Stanhope said: “We are pleased to have had the opportunity to work with OpenCell to help play our part in the fight against COVID-19 and to make available this space at our life sciences hub at White City Place. This is the first time that dedicated testing and DNA sequencing laboratories have been deployed together and is indicative of the enterprising spirit and innovation that White City Place has become known for.”

Dr. Thomas Meany chief technology officer of OpenCell said: “This war on COVID has moved to a new front. Alongside the delivery of vaccines we need to outflank the virus with sufficient sequencing capability to be able to know 1) what mutations are occurring in the virus, 2) do they have the capacity to induce resistance to the vaccine and 3) what is the prevalence. Sequencing, alongside RT-qPCR testing is an essential intelligence tool in that fight.”