Mayo Clinic announced last week that it can now test up to 4,000 clinical samples for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, on a daily basis.
Mayo officials said they now have the capacity to process COVID-19 test samples at all Mayo Clinic sites and have started processing test samples from their clients across the state, including eight major health systems.
“The capability to test and process clinical samples for the SARS-CoV-2 virus is urgently needed nationwide and we have been working around the clock to make this expansion happen as quickly as possible,” William Morice, II, president of Mayo Clinic Laboratories, said in a press release.
“Our expanded capacity will expedite caring for patients at this critical time, and hopefully will ease the burden being felt at test processing laboratories in Minnesota and a growing number of geographies,” he added.
Morice said the expanded capacity is made possible by three high-turnout diagnostic processors from Roche Diagnostics, the U.S. subsidiary of the Swiss biotech company Roche. The company announced last week that it plans to ship 400,000 of its tests kits to more than 30 hospitals and labs across the country per week.
A COVID-19 test developed by Mayo Clinic’s Clinical Virology Laboratory is also being used to help ease the testing burden. With these two new tests, Mayo Clinic said it can now process as many as 4,000 COVID-19 tests daily and Morice said he thinks that number will grow in the coming weeks.
“We anticipate that with the ongoing need for COVID-19 testing that we will need to expand our capabilities, and we’re prepared to do that,” he said.
Doug Schultz, a communications director for the Minnesota Department of Health, recently told The Minnesota Sun that the state’s Public Health Lab will “direct a certain portion of testing” to Mayo Clinic once it is in a position to accept specimens.
As of Sunday afternoon, the Public Health Lab had performed a total of 4,680 tests since the beginning of the outbreak, meaning Mayo Clinic can now perform in a single day roughly the number of tests the state has conducted since January 20.
The FDA announced Sunday that it has approved an Emergency Use Authorization for a California-based molecular diagnostics company for a test that can detect the virus in 45 minutes.
Minnesota now has 169 confirmed COVID-19 cases and has experienced one death, according to the Department of Health.
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun and The Ohio Star. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Mayo Clinic” and Dr. William Morice II” by Mayo Clinic Laboratories.