CARPHA COVID-19 tests affected by reagent shortage

By Trinidad Guardian

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(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) – The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is actively searching for suppliers of a key ingredient to the COVID-19 testing process, amidst a global shortage.

According to CARPHA, the reagent chemical is crucial to the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing process. However, a shortage currently exists because of increased demand for the chemical, as countries around the world ramp up testing to battle COVID-19.

The development was revealed during the organisation’s virtual press conference on Wednesday, by CARPHA deputy director and infectious disease specialist Dr Lisa Indar.

“The CMML (CARPHA’s Medical Microbiology Laboratory) has been impacted by global shortages of reagents,” Dr Indar revealed. “However, our current reagent capacity is such that we have enough media to take us through the next three weeks,” she assured.

She noted that CARPHA placed pre-orders for the agents in January, before there were any cases of the virus in the Caribbean, however “it’s just the time it is taking to get to us because of the shortage.”

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