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Diagnostics COVID-19, Microbiology and immunology, Analytical science

Behind the COVID-19 Curve

Efforts to ramp up diagnostic testing for SARS-CoV-2 in the USA have been hampered after a slow response to the outbreak. The original test kit distributed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) contained a faulty reagent that, in many cases, reacted to the negative control, rendering results invalid (1). Hospitals and academic labs across the country were restricted from developing their own test kits until February 29.

Since then, testing has moved away from the CDC and state labs toward hospitals and commercial companies – and, as of March 14, labs using the CDC assay are no longer required to submit samples for confirmation. But where does that leave the USA? As of March 18, 37,824 tests had been conducted (2), leaving the country lagging behind others. Health officials hope that new drive-through test centers and quicker processing will help them hit testing targets.

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  1. Science (2020). Available at:
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2020). Available at:
About the Author
Luke Turner

While completing my undergraduate degree in Biology, I soon discovered that my passion and strength was for writing about science rather than working in the lab. My master’s degree in Science Communication allowed me to develop my science writing skills and I was lucky enough to come to Texere Publishing straight from University. Here I am given the opportunity to write about cutting edge research and engage with leading scientists, while also being part of a fantastic team!

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