Current COVID-19 tests are slow, expensive, and require complex kits which are frequently back-ordered in the United States. A major component of all the current COVID-19 tests in clinical labs is the RNA extraction step which takes hours and doubles the cost. In this study, we plan to use new polymerase enzymes to develop, validate, and implement simple and fast “extraction-free” tests which will provide high volume COVID-19 results in a timely manner. Following validation at BC Children’s Hospital this summer and fall, the data and standard operating procedure will be offered to other labs throughout BC, via BCCDC.
Investigator, BC Children’s Hospital
Medical Microbiologist & Head, Division of Microbiology, BC Children’s Hospital and BC Women’s Hospital & Health Centre
Clinical Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of British Columbia
Early and accurate diagnosis of respiratory and central nervous system infections can lead to improved outcomes and earlier discharges, yet identification methods for such diseases are commonly available for only a limited number of infectious agents. Next generation sequencing (NGS) technology has shown promise for detection of a huge range of human pathogens from biological samples. I have been involved as a co-investigator in a pilot study examining a new lab process for NGS for the comprehensive detection of bacterial and viral pathogens in pediatric respiratory and cerebrospinal fluid samples.