COVID-19 testing prioritisation & suspension of non-urgent molecular tests

Monday 06 April 2020, 8:00

The public health emergency caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic presents challenges that are unprecedented and that require us all to adapt to radically changed circumstances. This applies across all sectors of healthcare, and pathology testing is no exception.

Prioritisation of COVID-19 testing

Douglass Hanly Moir Pathology began COVID-19 testing approximately three weeks ago and, despite the high volume of testing, it has caused very little disruption to the provision of other molecular tests, which have been performed and reported as and when requested. We fully expected this to remain the case, however, the precarious state of global supply chains has ended that expectation.

Government determination of reagent supply

The supply of reagents for molecular testing is no longer a matter of ordering what is required and having it delivered. Reagents are now allocated according to a Government determination of need. Given the non-negotiable restrictions placed on reagent supply and the non-negotiable requirement to prioritise COVID-19 testing, we are compelled to suspend some assays that are less critical and that have alternative methods available.

Suspension of non-urgent molecular testing

At this point we must suspend two assays for the foreseeable future:

1.    PCR for faecal pathogens
2.    PCR for group B streptococcus (GBS)
Traditional tests for faecal pathogens and GBS remain available. 

Please do not hesitate to contact one of our Clinical Microbiologists to discuss this development, if necessary, on (02) 9855 5312.