The world’s first virtual reality COVID-19 lab training syllabus is set to launch in October. The course has been created by two British companies: technology educators Credersi and COVID testing solutions company DAM Health.
The course aims to increase the number of lab technicians being trained to meet a mass skills shortage and crisis. Research carried out by the Gatsby Foundation before the COVID-19 pandemic began showed that by 2030 the UK will require a further 700,000 lab technicians to support the UK economy. Credersi believes that given the magnitude of the pandemic that the figure could double.
Increasing the number of trained lab technicians will also help to to reduce the unit cost of COVID-19 testing over time.
The training course, which will take place via a virtual and augmented reality platform will last for eight weeks. It will include components of science, data science and data analytical programming, to train students to extrapolate results from their work.
It will also have a physical PCR machine, which will be used to model and render into a 3D virtual lab. This will allow the lab technicians and students to see an animated sequence of how to conduct a PCR test. The course can be accessed by students from anywhere in the world.
There are plans to take the 3D virtual lab into schools and colleges as part of a wider programme to encourage children and young people to study STEM subjects, by using technology they can relate to.
Andy Lord, CEO and co-founder of Credersi, commented on the new programme: “This is a really exciting project for us to team up with DAM Health and we are incredibly grateful for their support and patronage. The addition of the 3D modelling to develop a course that has elements uniquely focusing on Covid-19 and PCR is a real game changer.
"There is a huge shortage of skilled lab technicians at the moment, and we aim to address that imbalance by injecting a new army of talented and trained lab technicians. Demand for lab technicians is outstripping supply in the market. Covid-19 testing will be with us for the foreseeable future. By understanding and learning about PCR testing and how this works will enable the lab technicians of the future to be better equipped to deal with future viral epidemics and pandemics."
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