A forensics company that set up in Manchester in April has put it on the map as a worldwide centre for excellence in identifying the victims of disasters.
Blackley-based Trimega Laboratories has just successfully compiled a DNA database of the 103 people who died when Afriqiyah Airways Flight 771 from Johannesburg crash-landed near Tripoli Airport on 12th May, 2010. The database can now be used to cross-match samples received from family members of the victims – which included two Britons – so that the bodies recovered can be identified genetically and repatriated by the Libyan Authorities. The team of forensic scientists working on the project include experts who helped the Thai government identify victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.
Avi Lasarow, managing director of Trimega Laboratories, commented: “This is a significant breakthrough because DNA profiles of disaster victims are often difficult to obtain because samples are inhibited by contaminates such as chemicals caused by burning. One of the key success factors in the process has been retrieving the right samples for DNA extraction on the first attempt. Experience from past scenarios demonstrates that if this is not done correctly from the onset, valuable time is lost in the process of identification and samples can degrade which impacts the final success rate.”