US wont cope with Covid-19 testing in Autumn, says largest lab company

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The largest laboratory company in the US has warned it will be impossible to increase coronavirus testing capacity to cope with expected demand during the autumn flu season. This was the latest sign that the US response to the pandemic remains crippled, with James Davis, Vice-President at Quest Diagnostics calling for other solutions to be found.

Even now,  the two major testing companies in the country are struggling, with Quest and LabCorp carrying out more than 5.5 million tests a week, as cases continued to spike.  Due to the excessive demand, people are having to wait up to a week to get their results, rendering testing virtually pointless. Health experts have argued that by the time a person receives their result they are likely to have passed the point at which they are most infectious.

Public health experts have called on the United States to double its testing capacity after rising infections in States that hastened their re-opening, such as California, Texas, Florida and Arizona.

Davis added: “We would double our capacity tomorrow . . . but it’s not the labs that are the bottleneck. [It] is our ability to get physical machines and, more importantly, our ability to feed those machines with chemical reagents.”

Long delays in getting results mean that the number of cases in the country, which reached almost 464,000 last week — is out-of-date, and that US officials must fight the pandemic with old data.

read more via FT

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