Stanford Medicine Working on Speeding Up COVID Testing Process

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The wait for COVID-19 test results is growing along with the lines at testing centers, but Stanford Medicine is working to speed up that turn-around time.

Georjean Morado from San Francisco said she had to wait eight days to get it and she’s hoping she won’t have to wait that long for her results. 

“This is my fourth test,” she said. “Longest I've had to wait for an appointment, I’m a little shocked.”

Stanford is working to turn results around faster with a technique called “pooled testing.”

“Pull any eight you want, pool liquid, put in machine and it gets run,” said Yvonne Maldonado.

The infectious disease doctor says pooled testing will save time and hard-to-get supplies.

Instead of testing just one sample at a time, the FDA has given its approval to test eight samples at a time.

If a result is positive, technicians would go back and test each sample and identify which are positive. If the result is negative, they move on to the next set of eight.

“This is a faster way to get more tests,” said Maldonado. “Eight times as many tests as it takes to do just one.”

The work does come with some risk.

“If someone has lower amount of virus on swab, there’s small chance that person might test negative,” said Maldonado.

At the testing center, the doctor is supportive of efforts to make the process more efficient.

“It would be nice to have a sooner appointment and sooner result especially if you know you've been exposed,” she said.

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