UW Medicine ramps up new coronavirus lab test

Coronavirus particles
A new lab test to detect the COVID-19 coronavirus is ready for prime time. (UW Medicine via YouTube)

The University of Washington School of Medicine is moving forward with a new clinical lab test for the COVID-19 coronavirus, and plans to be able to test up to 1,500 samples per day by the end of the week.

Implementation of the test, which will be available only through physicians and healthcare providers, was announced today. The effort follows up on the Food and Drug Administration’s announcement that it would allow labs to develop their own diagnostic tests for the virus under expedited approval.

Also today, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced that it’s committing an additional $5 million to help public health agencies in the Seattle area enhance their capacity to detect the virus. The response to the coronavirus’ spread was stymied in the Seattle area, where the first U.S. cases were reported, because effective lab tests weren’t available in the first weeks of the epidemic.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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