By being prepared, NPR reports that a virology lab run by UW Medicine is ramping up to be able to test a thousand or more patient samples for the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
Keith Jerome, who runs the lab, tells NPR that he and his colleagues started preparing when they caught wind of the outbreak's start in China. "Our opinion was, this is probably not going to be a problem, this is probably going to be a waste of our effort and some money, but we owe it to the people of our area to be prepared," he says.
Seattle, where UW Medicine is, is now a center of the outbreak in the US, with about 50 COVID-19 cases in the area, according to the King County health department.
The test Jerome and his colleagues developed was initially just for research, but they got the go-ahead to use it on patients. He tells NPR that his lab is now running on three shifts and is processing about 100 tests per day, but says it is ready to scale to 1,000 tests a day and could even reach 4,000 tests a day.