Mayo Clinic has developed a test that can detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus in clinical samples. The SARS-CoV virus causes COVID-19. The test has been fully validated, and data will be submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for review and emergency use authorization.
"This is an issue the whole world is grappling with, so we felt like this was our moral obligation to offer testing to as many people as we can," says Dr. Matthew Binnicker, a clinical microbiologist and director of the Clinical Virology Laboratory at Mayo Clinic.
Journalists: Broadcast-quality video (1:39) is in the downloads at the end of this post. Please "Courtesy: Mayo Clinic News Network." Read the script.
Dr. Binnicker oversees Mayo Clinic's laboratory response in developing the test to detect COVID-19 in clinical samples. A process that usually takes six months to a year was accomplished in under a month, thanks to a dedicated team working around the clock.
The test should help ease the burden currently being felt at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state health labs.
"Our plan is to offer this test to anyone here at Mayo and around the country, and even from patients seen in other countries," says Dr. Binnicker.
That will also mean faster turnaround times for results.
"Once the sample arrives in our laboratory, the whole process from beginning to end takes somewhere between four to six hours."
Patients can expect results within 24 hours of when samples are collected and sent to Mayo Clinic Laboratories in Rochester, Minnesota.
"We need to get those results to our physicians and physicians around the country so that they can make those rapid patient management decisions," explains Dr. Binnicker. "Information is power. If you have the results of the test, you can decide whether the patient has the disease or not, and then you can take steps to make decisions from there."
Initially, Dr. Binnicker says the laboratory has the capacity to run between 200 and 300 tests daily. Additional equipment has been ordered to double that capacity in the coming weeks.
All positive samples will be sent to the Minnesota Department of Health or CDC for appropriate follow-up testing and confirmation. Then test results will be communicated with public health officials, per department of health guidelines.
To read the news release click here.