The Government will not endorse private laboratories conducting testing for the coronavirus (COVID-19) until they complete the required validation process.
This is according to Director of National Laboratory Services, Dr. Michelle Hamilton, who said the Ministry of Health and Wellness has been in discussions with several labs, “but none have met the full requirements”.
“There is a validation study that has to be conducted. This validation study helps us to determine whether or not the results obtained by the [private] labs would be similar to the results we would obtain if we did the test ourselves,” Dr. Hamilton said, during a digital press conference hosted by the Ministry of Health and Wellness on August 13.
She stressed that it is important that this validation process be completed prior to endorsing any testing services offered by these private labs, “because this is a means of ensuring that we provide accurate and also safe testing”.
Dr. Hamilton argued that it is in the interest of private labs “to work along with us to complete whatever outstanding requirements there are, because we are aware that there is a large demand for their services”.
“It is very important for us to be able to give a guarantee as to what is happening at each of the laboratories that offers tests. The laboratories have not fully met the requirements and so we cannot endorse what they are doing at this time, because until the requirements are met, we would not be in a position to guarantee the accuracy and the safety of the operations,” she added.
In the meantime, Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, said the Government will have to address the issue of private labs advertising for COVID-19 testing.
“I do know that in the public space there have been labs that have been advertising as offering to do tests, and that could be a challenge if they are not validated,” he said.