Verily, an Alphabet company and Google sibling, has established a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)-certified lab at its south San Francisco headquarters, intended to speed up COVID-19 testing.
An interview with Deb Hanks, Verily's head of pathology, cast a light on the current issues with testing.
She said Verily will use the new lab as a way to help "provide a focused specialty service with rapid turnaround time," running thousands of tests per day. The testing will be prioritized for Healthy at Work customers, meaning efforts to help those who are trying to safely return to work and school will be pushed to the forefront.
The test will aim to tell people if they are currently infected with the coronavirus, according to Hanks.
Hanks said the issue behind the current lags in testing primarily stems from the fact that most labs are now seeing vastly increased demand in terms of the needs for their testing services.
"Diagnostic labs are experiencing unprecedented demand for their services, sometimes resulting in longer turnaround times from sampling to return of results,” she said in the interview. “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."
Because of the delay, potential new treatment interventions are also delayed, including new therapies which could only need a few days.
"Reducing the testing turnaround time can help support research needed to bring new therapies and treatments to market by identifying infected individuals quickly enough for them to join these studies," Hanks said in the interview.
Verily created an online portal to help people determine if they need a test for the virus in March, PYMNTS reported. The website aimed to assist anyone experiencing virus symptoms, or who had come into contact with someone who was sick, to find out where they could be tested.