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Other Supplies Also Needed

Politico reports there may soon be a shortage of lab supplies that may further delay testing for SARS-CoV-2 infections in the US. GenomeWeb adds there are other points in the test development and validation process where holdups may also arise.

Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says there may not be a large enough supply of RNA extraction kits needed to isolate viral genetic material from patient samples. "The availability of those reagents is obviously being looked at," he tells Politico. "I'm confident of the actual test that we have, but as people begin to operationalize the test, they realize there's other things they need to do the test."

Testing for SARS-CoV-2 in the US already suffered setbacks when the testing kit the CDC developed ran into issues during quality control testing at other public health labs. The agency had to re-manufacture one of the kit's reagents, affecting the rollout of wider testing. 

The Food and Drug Administration has since allowed high-complexity labs to develop their own tests, but, as GenomeWeb reports, some labs have run into problems sourcing viral samples to test their assays and getting access to needed instrumentation as well as that shortage of RNA extraction kits. A spokesperson from Qiagen, which makes the kits, tells GenomeWeb that "are doing our best to manage our supply chains and meet the needs of customers in the most timely way possible."