Miami Cancer Institute Develops In-House Test For COVID-19

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April 21, 2020


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One of the greatest challenges for healthcare systems during the coronavirus pandemic has been the timely identification of COVID-19 patients. Obtaining a quick, reliable test result is critical in order to begin self-isolation at home or admit a patient to a specific area of the hospital.

Baptist Hospital of Miami Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory at Miami Cancer Institute applied for and was granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the Food & Drug Administration to perform COVID-19 swab tests in-house. The test was developed at Miami Cancer Institute, which is part of Baptist Health.

(VIDEO: See how in-house COVID-19 testing will help identify and facilitate healthcare decisions at Baptist Health South Florida.)

This in-house testing allows Miami Cancer Institute to perform up to 80 tests a day — with capacity for more in the near future — and receive results within 24 hours.

“Having this test allows us to expand our in-house testing capability, allowing us to make treatment decisions more quickly and quarantine patients appropriately,” said Edwin Gould, M.D., chief of pathology, Miami Cancer Institute. “We were fortunate to have all the highly sophisticated equipment and expertise needed already in-house – making the switch possible in a short time frame.”

As an added layer of safety, the testing process begins in a leased GermFree trailer, which resides behind the Miami Cancer Institute facility and contains ventilated air space and laminar flow hoods. The remainder of testing is performed in the building’s laboratory. The GermFree trailer, which was used as a pharmacy during Miami Cancer Institute’s construction, includes equipment like microbiology hoods that allow for molecular testing of COVID-19.

Miami Cancer Institute is one of 12 hospital laboratories across the country to receive this authorization. Others include Stanford Health Care, Northwestern Medicine, Yale New Haven Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

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