- The Washington Times - Friday, October 16, 2020

One in four U.S. labs doesn’t have enough coronavirus test kits, while one-third don’t have supplies for routine bacteria detection, according to a data collection tool.

For months, clinical laboratories have experienced shortages of testing supplies including coronavirus molecular test kits and reagents, which, because of their high demand has “caused a ripple effect of shortages” in the production of supplies required to test other infectious diseases.

The online data collection tool also revealed that 117 federally certified labs are operating at a running average of 41% testing capacity for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The tool was created by American Society for Microbiology and the Association for Supply Chain Management.

“Lags in COVID-19 testing will continue, as will delays with other tests for common illnesses such as strep throat, urinary tract infections and sexually transmitted infections, if the demand for lab supplies isn’t met,” according to a statement by the American Society for Microbiology.

Data also shows that 73% of the certified labs have a shortage of commercial coronavirus testing kits, 65% have a shortage of testing supplies for detection of routine bacteria such as those that cause strep throat and bronchitis, 70% lack supplies for molecular detection of sexually transmitted infections, and 50% don’t have enough supplies for routine fungal testing.

The two organizations on Friday reported a U.S. lab can administer an average of 1,162 COVID-19 tests a week. But without constraints on resources, a lab could conduct 2,358 coronavirus tests on average.

• Shen Wu Tan can be reached at stan@washingtontimes.com.

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