Testing capacity augmented

Southern Community Laboratories molecular pathology department head Jenny Grant with an...
Southern Community Laboratories molecular pathology department head Jenny Grant with an Australian machine which tests for Covid-19. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Dunedin's Covid-19 testing capacity has been strengthened by adding an Australian testing system.

A team that included staff from the University of Otago microbiology and immunology department and Southern Community Laboratories (SCL), earlier this year rapidly adapted a German test, which detected the first confirmed Dunedin Covid-19 cases in mid-March.

Team member and SCL consultant clinical microbiologist Associate Prof James Ussher said the initial test, running on a United States-made automated machine, still undertook most of the city's testing for the Southern District Health Board.

However, adding the Australian test last month had increased Dunedin's overall capacity, contributing to a city record of more than 600 tests, processed in one day late last month, and provided a valuable backup to the main system.

Hard work by SCL molecular pathology department head Dr Jenny Grant had helped make the Australian testing system a reality in Dunedin, he said.

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