NUI Galway distributing Covid test kits to students

Breda Smyth, HSE West Director of Public Health Medicine and Personal Professor of Public Health Medicine, NUI Galway pictured with Professor Charles Spillane, Director of NUI Galway's Ryan Institute and PhD students Lorene Lefebvre and Gilles Dupouy and Master's students Killian Marlborough and Brian Joyce at the launch of UniCov in semester one 2021. Credit: Aengus McMahon.
Jan 14 2022 Posted: 04:45 GMT

Tens of thousands of antigen test kits are being provided to students at NUI Galway alongside Project UniCoV as part of public health efforts to limit the spread of Covid-19. 

From Monday 17 January, students will be able to collect packs at four locations across campus. 

Professor Breda Smyth, Chief Investigator of Project UniCoV and HSE West Director of Public Health, urged students to avail of the kits as well as additional testing, by signing up to take part in Project UniCoV.  

“Everyone attending campus needs to adhere to the basic public health measures in the first instance – including not coming to campus if you have symptoms and are supposed to be self-isolating or restricting movements.

“Being able to offer free antigen test kits on campus at NUI Galway and giving students the opportunity to take part in Project UniCov demonstrates how we can take a layered approach to public safety and the welfare of students and staff.”

Students can collect five tests at a time. They are being advised to test twice a week, three days apart. They are also being advised to self-isolate if they test positive or develop symptoms and to follow public health advice. 

Students are also being encouraged to avail of the option for further free antigen and/or salvia PCR testing for 12 weeks in semester two. A special QR code is being made available to students to support the research. 

NUI Galway students are also encouraged to get the vaccine booster, to continue to wear face coverings and sanitise hands. 

The University saw high levels of compliance from students with public health guidelines during the academic year and we thank them for that. 

The distribution of free antigen test kits is funded by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science. 

John Hannon, Director of Student Services at NUI Galway, said: “There was huge demand for free antigen testing from students in semester one and we know there will be huge demand again. The distribution of the free kits is one of many key steps we are taking as a university to help minimise the spread of Covid and keep our community as safe as possible.”

Funded by Science Foundation Ireland, the Department of Further and Higher Education Research Innovation and Science, and the Health Service Executive, Project UniCoV aims to determine the feasibility of two rapid testing modalities - antigen testing and saliva PCR testing. 

The research project is ongoing in four partner universities. To date, more than 27,700 rapid tests have been carried out, and about 3,300 students and employees have been tested bi-weekly. Further detail on


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