Friday , January 15 2021

A device that speeds up COVID-19 screening tests in Quebec

The arrival of an automatic machine at the CHUM made it possible to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the province.

• Read also: All developments in the COVID-19 pandemic

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While at the beginning of the summer, all of the COVID-19 screening tests were carried out by hand, this device greatly accelerated the analyzes of the CHUM laboratories, where 2,000 analyzes are carried out every day.

Costing around $ 1M, the machine delivers results at lightning speed, which can analyze 94 samples at a time. Thanks to this, a person who has taken a screening test can know their result within 24 hours.

This machine was quite an acquisition for the hospital center. In fact, since March, 250,000 analyzes have been carried out at the CHUM and 650,000 in the OPTILAB COVID cluster bringing together the CHUM, Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont and Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur. 25% of COVID-19 analyzes in Quebec come from these centers.

The arrival of the machine has also given employees a big hand. This has made it possible to assign staff to other laboratory tasks to ensure the continuation of medical activities which were delayed last spring.

“We have gone from around fifteen employees who worked directly on COVID to three employees who are on this device,” explains Optilab-Montreal-CHUM director Bruno Lamontagne.

When COVID-19 is no longer relevant in the coming years, the automaton will still have a role to play.

“It will be used to do a variety of analyzes: viral loads for HIV, viral loads for hepatitis C, chlamydias, gonorrhea …”, affirms molecular biologist Simon Gagnon.

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