Google sister company Verily has developed its own COVID-19 clinical testing lab that is focused on speeding up the testing process, according to an Aug. 10 company blog post.
The CLIA-certified lab is based in San Francisco at Verily’s headquarters and has the capacity to run several thousand tests per day, Verily’s head of pathology Deb Hanks, MD, said in the blog post. The move comes as diagnostic labs across the country face unprecedented demand for their services, which have in some cases resulted in longer turnaround times from sample collection to the return of results.
“Highly experienced labs, adept at handling high volumes of testing, have gone from a two-to-three day turnaround time for a molecular-based RT-PCR COVID-19 test to seven days or longer,” Dr. Hanks said. “When test results are delayed, not only do everyday decisions become harder for the person tested — for example, whether it’s safe to return to work — but it becomes challenging for our public health departments to trace local outbreaks, interrupt transmission and formulate guidance for their communities.”
Verily’s lab-testing efforts will be primarily focused on the company’s Healthy at Work customers; the program provides daily symptom screening, COVID-19 testing and population analytics capabilities. The lab is California state licensed CLIA certified, which means it meets required standards for clinical labs.
Verily’s lab performs RT-PCR testing, which can detect the COVID-19 virus in upper and lower respiratory specimens to inform the individual whether they currently are infected with the disease. Verily also supports COVID-19 antibody testing and the company is working on a pooled testing technology, which increases the amount of tests processed by combining batches of samples.
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