“We have the capacity to do 10,000 tests a day and we are looking to double or even triple that … in the weeks to come,” said Dr. Bill Morice of the Mayo Clinic.
ROCHESTER, Minnesota – Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has said that extended testing is the key to getting the state back on track and lifting the restrictions. Mayo Clinic is at the forefront of the development of this type of testing.
Last week, the Mayo Clinic launched a serological test (also called an antibody test) which is used to find out who has recovered and may have some immunity to the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
RELATED: Mayo Clinic: Launch of Coronavirus Blood Test Next Week
They are now able to make it available to more hospitals across the country through the laboratories at the Mayo Clinic.
“We have focused a lot on the regions of the country that have been hit the hardest by this … so in the South and Northeast,” said Dr. Bill Morice, president of the Mayo Clinic laboratories and president of the laboratory. Medicine and Pathology at the Mayo Clinic.
So far, the Mayo Clinic has performed around 100 serological tests, but the tests are intensifying.
“We have the capacity to do 10,000 tests a day and we are looking to double, even triple, or even more in the weeks to come,” said Dr. Morice.
According to Dr. Morice, they focus first on testing people on the front lines who may have been exposed to the virus and now have some immunity.
RELATED: Minnesota Researchers Develop COVID-19 Antibody Test
“The other will be to really identify the people who have been exposed, who have developed antibodies and who can actually donate their plasma to treat other people who are really suffering from COVID,” said Dr. Morice.
For example, an older couple from Maple Grove with COVID-19 are part of the Mayo Clinic convalescent plasma study by North Memorial Health. But the couple’s family say there is not enough or not enough quality plasma donation to continue treatment. Qualified donors are those who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have fully recovered. More tests would likely lead to more plasma donations.
RELATED: The Mayo Clinic Leads a Plasma Program to Treat COVID-19 Patients
Expanded tests would also help reopen the economy. To get there, Governor Walz said he hoped to do 40,000 tests a week, or about 5,000 a day.
“I think it’s definitely doable … As I mentioned, we can do 10,000 tests a day right now,” said Dr. Morice. “It will take a real concerted effort because, just like the Mayo Clinic and other hospitals in the state are looking to develop these tests, all the other hospitals are in the exact same situation. So we need to be more coordinated, in collaboration with the federal government. to understand how they can help increase supplies through testing. “
Finally, Dr. Morice said he wanted to test as many people as possible.
“Both to understand how the disease spreads and then once we get the vaccine, to understand who responds and who doesn’t,” said Dr. Morice.
Testing is done 24 hours a day and the turnaround time should be as close as possible to 24 hours after receipt of the sample.
The serological test is intended to detect antibodies but not for recent or active infections. The Mayo Clinic molecular test is used for this.
“As we think about reopening the company safely … how do we put all these pieces of the puzzle together?” Both molecular and serological testing will be critically important, “said Dr. Morice.
The Mayo Clinic also runs a national plasma program to treat COVID-19 patients. There is an effort right now to identify potential donors and get those people to donate.
If you are a patient recovered from COVID-19, your plasma donation could help someone who is currently fighting COVID-19.
Those who can donate to Mayo can click here or contact [email protected]
Those who can donate elsewhere can find more information from the American Red Cross.
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The State of Minnesota has set up a hotline for general questions about coronaviruses at 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903, available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.