Private labs must be validated to test for COVID-19

Private labs must be validated to test for COVID-19

Friday, August 14, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton, says the Government will have to address the issue of private labs advertising for COVID-19 testing.

Speaking during a virtual press conference yesterday, the minister said, “I do know that in the public space there have been labs that have been advertising as offering to do tests, and that could be a challenge if they are not validated.”

Director of National Laboratory Services, Dr Michelle Hamilton, who was also present at the press conference, said the Government will not endorse private laboratories conducting testing for COVID-19 until they complete the required validation process.

According to Dr Hamilton, the ministry has been in discussions with several labs, “but none have met the full requirements”.

“There is a validation study that has to be conducted. This validation study helps us to determine whether or not the results obtained by the [private] labs would be similar to the results we would obtain if we did the test ourselves,” she said.

She noted that it is important that this validation process be completed prior to endorsing any testing services offered by these private labs, “because this is a means of ensuring that we provide accurate and also safe testing”.

Dr Hamilton argued that it is in the interest of private labs “to work along with us to complete whatever outstanding requirements there are, because we are aware that there is a large demand for their services”.

“It is very important for us to be able to give a guarantee as to what is happening at each of the laboratories that offer tests. The laboratories have not fully met the requirements and so we cannot endorse what they are doing at this time, because until the requirements are met, we would not be in a position to guarantee the accuracy and the safety of the operations,” she added.


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