PCR testing capacity: SL can run 4,000 tests daily
3 years ago
GMOA notes need to increase PCR tests By Sarah Hannan Sri Lanka currently has the capacity of carrying out 4,000 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests daily, College of Medical Laboratory Science President Ravi Kumudesh said. Kumudesh made this observation in response to a comment by Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) Secretary Dr. Shenal Fernando that Sri Lanka has gradually built its PCR testing capacity to 1,500. “If we take into account the PCR test machines that are available at various hospitals and health institutions, we have the ability to do 4,000 PCR tests per day. The only setback we are facing at present as laboratory technicians is that we are not getting the maximum number of samples to run tests using our facilities,” Kumudesh noted. GMOA Secretary Dr. Fernando had noted that the Epidemiology Unit had indicated that at least 68,000 PCR tests need to be done per month. However, only about 45,000 PCR tests are carried out at present per month. According to Kumudesh, if the health authorities had considered their suggestion on sending samples to not only selected testing laboratories but to delegate it to area-specific labs, more tests could be conducted; the lab technicians too are willing to put in the hours of work to get the tests results out on time and efficiently. “Even the testing methodology needs to be looked at with a multi-pronged approach, which needs to have a ruling in and ruling out method. Considering the way the PCR tests are now carried out, it will only detect the virus in the RNA, but we need to have a system where we could identify whether an infected person has been carrying the virus for several days at the time of testing,” Kumudesh further explained. Moreover, the hospitals will possibly be facing a stoppage of all types of tests as they are now running out of reagent stocks, as they have defaulted payments for the stock that they had taken on credit from the suppliers. Kumudeesh said that due to non-payment, soon the suppliers will refuse to issue reagents to any government hospital or laboratory.