Crop science and research organisation James Hutton Institute has registered its facilities with the NHS for testing on Covid-19.

Its support is another example of British horticulture stepping up in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, as businesses and organisations across the industry have rallied to keep food on the shelves and fresh produce growing.

James Hutton Institute, revealed it was also assisting NHS with equipment and lab facilities, having already donated 4,500 gloves, and more than a thousand overshoes.

Its “High Performance Computers” have also been made available to researchers helping Colombian authorities analyse data and understand the epidemiology of the pandemic there, which has spread to over 1,500 cases, and 46 deaths.

'While we more normally test viruses that cause disease in crops, we have a large capacity to do biological testing and have registered our expertise, facilities and resources with the NHS to help with testing for Covid-19 if needed,' stated the institute.

'The Institute has substantial expertise, equipment and facilities for undertaking molecular biology, including working withRNAandPCRbased diagnostic tests and we use high-throughput instruments to do this. Two Hutton, automated, high-throughput extraction systems have been loaned on to NHS Highland and NHS Lanarkshire to assist with COVID-19 testing and DNA sequencing.'

Professor Colin Campbell, chief executive of JHI said: “We are helping to tackle Covid-19 where we can. It can be surprising how we might assist, so please don’t hesitate to ask. We will try our hardest.”

Sociological work undertaken by the inssitute also included expertise on building emotional resilience and mental wellbeing.

“One of our experts in this has been invited to share her knowledge and experience through membership of the Scottish Government’s COVID-19 Stakeholder group on the rural economy and communities,” according to JHI.