The University of California Medical Center has developed its own test for coronavirus, which they say will provide results within 24 hours.
Coronavirus testing in the US has been surprisingly slow, and there is also much confusion and inefficiency deciding who can get tested and who should pay for it. Technical challenges with the first test developed by the CDC also left the nation with minimal diagnostic capacity during the crucial first weeks of the epidemic. Flawed kits put the US at increased risk, adding a degree of an uncertainty to an already challenging situation.
Even as the number of cases in the US continues to spike, the federal government has not ensured that there are enough tests to go around. To alleviate some of this pressure, doctors and researchers from the University of California have developed their own test.
According to the Sacramento Bee, in-house testing is available at labs at UC San Francisco, UCLA, and UC San Diego, with UC Davis and Irvine next in line. The test is available across 10 campuses.
“We are hoping this will aid the state in getting more people tested,” UC Health Executive Vice President Carrie Byington told lawmakers.
Thus far, no one at a UC campus has tested positive for the virus. But to be on the safe side, the campus has mostly shut down, with classes and exams being carried in an online format, to reduce the risk of transmissions. No healthcare workers on any campus have contracted the virus.
This isn’t the first university-based coronavirus test developed. Stanford previously created its own coronavirus test which also shows results after 24 hours, also motivated by testing inefficiencies.
“In the early stages, COVID-19 has spread beyond the nation’s ability to detect it,” Stanford medical researchers wrote in an op-ed.
At the moment, it is not exactly clear if the tests will become more widely available, but it’s an encouraging sign in a battle that seems to be long and tedious.