The regional health minister visits the CIBA lab, which is now authorised to start testing samples for Covid-19. Photo: CIBA.

Aquaculture lab slashes Covid-19 test times from days to hours

Coronavirus diagnosis times in the Aysén region of Chile are to be cut from five days to five hours thanks to staff at an aquaculture laboratory.

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Until this week, diagnoses could only be obtained by sending the samples to the ISP or other laboratories outside the region.

But that is changing now that the Centre for Applied Biological Research (CIBA) in Aysén – one of Chile’s major salmon farming regions - has been authorised to carry out PCR analysis on human samples for the diagnosis of Covid-19.

Collaborative effort

“This result arises from a collaborative effort between the Aysén Health Service, the San Sebastián University and the Centre for Applied Biological Research (CIBA),” said Marcos Godoy, researcher and technical director of CIBA.

“In recent weeks they have been working intensively on being able to implement the laboratory so that it has suitable personnel, equipment and infrastructure to support Covid-19 prevention and control management,” Godoy told Fish Farming Expert’s Chilean sister site, Salmonexpert.

Mowi Chile

CIBA is not the only aquaculture laboratory to join Chile’s effort to control the spread of Covid-19. AquaChile’s ALAB laboratory in Puerto Montt has been put at the service of the authorities, and Mowi Chile has offered its laboratory services free for three months. It has the capacity to perform 1,000 daily analyses for Covid-19.

Members of salmon producers’ organisation SalmonChile have also made analysis capacity available to health services. The member network has an estimated analysis capacity of 5,000 samples per day.

Up to 10 laboratories are available to participate in the initiative. They must be validated by the competent authorities and can then provide support and help in the detection of positive cases of Covid-19, depending on the requirements of the Ministry of Health.