COVID-19 testing turnaround times at the BVI Health Services Authority (BVIHSA) are expected to further improve significantly, following the acquisition of a new automated extraction machine at the local laboratory.
This is according to a media release from the Ministry of Health, which said the new machine is expected to be soon accompanied with further equipment which will include a tower thermocycler.
Laboratory Manager Colette McCurdy said the lab will now be able to test 188 COVID
-19 specimens per session, with all the equipment combined working towards improved efficiency.
“Currently, most of the RNA extractions are performed manually and are complemented by an automated extractor with the capability of 16 extractions in 38 minutes. With this additional extractor, we will be able to do 48 automated extractions in one hour,” McCurdy stated.
With the territory’s borders opened to tourism, the lab manager explained that more COVID
-19 testing is now required compared to pre-December 1.
According to the Ministry of Health, the laboratory at the Dr D Orlando Smith Hospital tested more than 6,000 COVID
-19 samples between March 2020 and November that same year.
However, from December 1 to January 15, that number had tripled with more than 18,000 COVID
-19 samples recorded.