Nevada lab can now test for corona virus

Published: Feb. 11, 2020 at 5:11 PM PST
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The state public health lab is charged with testing samples and confirming diseases, water contamination, and hazardous biological specimens—among other things.

Now it is capable of testing for the novel corona virus.

Test kids arrived at the Nevada State Public Health Lab on Friday February 2, 2020 from the CDC.

For patients who may have been exposed to the novel corona virus, it means less time in the dark.

“To have to wait that long,” says Dr. Mark Pandori, Nevada State Public Health Director. “It is bad enough just to be sick. But to have to wait for test results for something that important. But also it is a strain on the public health structure as well. Because public health works best when you have information quickly,” says Dr. Pandori.

The virus has infected thousands of people, mostly in China.

But so far in the U.S. only 13 people have a confirmed case of the disease.

Those cases were confirmed with testing done exclusively at the CDC in Atlanta.

But currently there is a backlog of tests at the labs.

Test delivered to state and other labs will certainly take the pressure off.

Dr. Pandori says since the discovery of SARS or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome back in 2003 testing for such viruses has become more sophisticated and faster.

“With all the technologies that exist in labs like DNA sequencing and others we are able to develop testing like this very quickly,” says Dr. Pandori. “And the CDC reacted very, very quickly and within just a few weeks of having what is called the sequence of this virus, they had this test developed,” he says.

Dr. Pandori says the lab could test several hundred patients for the novel corona virus if needed.

Those test results will ultimately be sent to the CDC for final confirmation.

However, patients who test positive will undergo treatment while awaiting final confirmation tests from Atlanta.

Copyright KOLO-TV 2020

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