Scientists and physicians with UC San Diego are partnering with in-vitro diagnostics manufacturers to ramp up testing for COVID-19 within two to three weeks, a team at UC San Diego Health and its School of Medicine announced Friday.
Partnering with five in-vitro diagnostics manufacturers, UCSD's Center for Advanced Laboratory Medicine (CALM) said it is increasing testing for COVID-19 with a projected capacity of 1,000 to 1,500 tests per day within two to three weeks.
A spokesperson said UCSD's tests first address patients at UC San Diego Health, but that could change as testing capacity grows.
UC San Diego Health has been conducting in-house COVID-19 testing since March 10, among the first such efforts in the nation, producing results in hours, rather than days or weeks, according to the institution.
UC San Diego Health said national shortages of required chemicals and materials have limited testing to only persons meeting strict diagnostic criteria, such as clear symptoms of disease or known exposure to the virus.
The new partnerships will ensure multiple testing platforms with different material requirements and supply chains which will better overcome the issues of supply, demand — and need, UC San Diego Health said.
The partnerships are with Thermo Fisher Scientific, Roche Diagnostics, GenMark Diagnostics, Luminex Corporation and Abbott Diagnostics.
“These partnerships, executed with unprecedented urgency and speed, signify extraordinary, meaningful progress," said Patty Maysent, CEO of UC San Diego Health. "They represent greater access soon to COVID-19 testing, not just for our patients and health care workers, but hopefully the larger community in need.”
CALM, which opened in 2011, is a 90,000-square-foot facility near the main UC San Diego campus. It houses the majority of UC San Diego Health’s clinical laboratories, diagnostic services and related research activities.
"The facility has been revamped to redirect additional personnel and resources to COVID-19 testing," said Ronald McLawhon, MD, PhD, director of CALM.
“Our entire clinical team understands the importance of this effort in fighting a global pandemic,” McLawhon said. “Many of our most skilled laboratory, technical and management staff have been working around-the-clock under the guidance of doctors David Pride and Sharon Reed to make a real difference.”