Virus test chemical running low at CARPHA

The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is actively searching for suppliers of a key ingredient to the COVID-19 testing process amidst a global shortage, the Trinidad Guardian has reported.

The chemical reagent is crucial to the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing process. But high demand for the chemical as countries around the world ramp up testing to battle COVID-19 has led to a shortage.

“The CMML (CARPHA’s Medical Microbiology Laboratory) has been impacted by global shortages of reagents. However, our current reagent capacity is we have enough media to take us through the next three weeks,” CARPHA deputy director and infectious disease specialist Dr Lisa Indar was quoted by the paper as saying in a virtual press conference on Wednesday.

The Guardian said CARPHA placed pre-orders for the reagents in January before there were any cases of the virus in the Caribbean. “It’s just the time it’s taking to get to us because of the shortage,” Dr Indar told reporters.

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