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Rapid Covid-19 testing to the rescue

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27th September, 2022

A speedy solution to what could have been imminent chaos. NSW Health Pathology stepped up in the thick of the pandemic when Covid-19 results were needed yesterday, delivering additional rapid testing analysers with results in less than 20 minutes.

It was clear ear­ly in the pan­dem­ic that we’d have to source a new type of diag­nos­tic plat­form that could per­form rapid COVID-19 tests and get them to where they were needed.

Hos­pi­tals need­ed fast results to care for crit­i­cal­ly ill patients and con­trol infec­tion; poten­tial out­breaks in vul­ner­a­ble remote com­mu­ni­ties, jails and nurs­ing homes would need to be managed.

A crack team of peo­ple with diverse skills who had­n’t worked togeth­er before were draft­ed into action to pro­vide a much-need­ed boost to our usu­al rapid test­ing capabilities.

Soon, a new type of analyser was up and run­ning in 48 of our lab­o­ra­to­ries, six rapid test­ing clin­ics and five emer­gency depart­ments, deliv­er­ing results in real time via our award-win­ning inte­grat­ed diag­nos­tic pipeline. Results from remote rapid test­ing cen­tres were instant­ly avail­able to lab teams who con­firmed COVID-19 diag­noses and noti­fied pub­lic health teams in time to enact con­tain­ment and oth­er man­age­ment strategies.

From August 2021 to end of April this year, these analy­sers deployed through­out rur­al, region­al and met­ro­pol­i­tan NSW gave over 311,000 results. They’re easy enough for health staff with no micro­bi­ol­o­gy test­ing expe­ri­ence to use, and flex­i­ble enough to also use for Flu A/B test­ing with­out chang­ing ICT sys­tems or pro­vid­ing extra training.

More than 100 of the instru­ments are still in use giv­ing 38,000 results a month as the pan­dem­ic continues.


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