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Bumps in the Testing Road

A number of academic labs in the US are able to run SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic tests, but Nature News reports they have run into multiple snags preventing them from processing tests at capacity.

According to Nature News, a number of academic labs in the US switched over from their usual work to process the PCR-based test for SARS-CoV-2 . To be able to do diagnostic testing, labs must have Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certification, which some academic labs already had and for which others partnered with nearby CLIA-certified labs, it adds. This process, the University of California, Berkeley's Fyodor Urnov tells it, "was deeply non-trivial." 

But it wasn't the only hiccup, Nature News says. It adds that many hospital systems couldn't use the testing offered by these labs because there was no way to get their billing and electronic health record systems to interface with the academic labs. The Sutter Health hospital system in northern California, for instance, tells Nature News that it "did explore COVID-19 test analysis with at least one academic provider. To succeed, an electronic interface between the lab provider and Sutter Health is needed."