UC expanding in-house testing for coronavirus amid national shortage

Coronavirus

The University of California’s five medical centers are gearing up to expand their own in-house testing for cases of the novel coronavirus — a move that could greatly accelerate efforts to identify infected patients and stem the pandemic.

Katie Zegarski, supervising clinical lab scientist with the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at UC Davis Health, runs through the process of loading samples into a new testing instrument for the virus that causes COVID-19.(Wayne Tilcock/UC Davis Health)
In an undated photo, Katie Zegarski, supervising clinical lab scientist with the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at UC Davis Health, runs through the process of loading samples into a new testing instrument for the virus that causes COVID-19. (Wayne Tilcock/UC Davis Health via Los Angeles Times)

By the time they fully ramp up in the coming days and weeks, the centers could provide hundreds of tests a day to their patients. It’s questionable, however, whether they will have the capacity to open testing to the public.

Such an increase in testing can’t come quickly enough for public health professionals, as it would ease the pressure on overwhelmed state and county health labs to contain the contagion by quickly identifying infected Californians. So far, a limited number of tests — both in California and nationwide — have prevented everyone with symptoms from being tested for the virus.

The UC system joins Stanford University, which was the first academic medical center in California to develop its own test and begin using it on a limited basis to diagnose patients.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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