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Rapid COVID-19 testing at UK; The Abbott M2000 is hard at work

Posted at 3:07 PM, Apr 14, 2020

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Scientists at UK’s Chandler Hospital are now able to retrieve the results from COVID-19 test samples within a 24-hour period, if not sooner. The ability to do this could work to help slow the spread of coronavirus as much as, if not more than, the social distancing practices we’ve been employing for more than a month.

“This is equipment we’ve had in the laboratory for quite some time,” Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Morgan McCoy said. “But the particular kit we’re using to test for SARS-CoV-2, or COVID-19, that is new. That is something Abbott came out with in response to the pandemic."

The instrument he’s referring to is the “Abbott M2000” and it has the ability to test multiple samples at once.

“We can run samples from 94 patients at once, along with controls,” McCoy said, while adding that the number jumps to 188 samples when they have enough samples on hand to run both machines at the same time.

Being able to do this type of mass testing, which yields quick a result, could play a huge role in Kentucky’s ability to stop, or at least slow the spread of coronavirus. It’ll allow those who are sick to isolate themselves more quickly, while receiving the necessary treatment to assist with their recovery.

Originally, the Abbott M2000 testing instrument was being used on samples from UK patients exclusively, but the work in the lab has expanded as the need for more testing has soared.

“We’re getting a lot of samples (from around the state.) We’re running this 24/7 on all three shifts,” McCoy said.

It might be our best, if not only, real way of preventing the spread.