COVID-19 testing continues to face severe limitations, as California health officials lack key components to run laboratory tests for the virus, marking another barrier in the state’s efforts to identify infectious patients.
The shortfall compounds a month of sluggish progress in deploying diagnostic tests developed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and, if not quickly remedied, will continue to substantially undercount infected patients and could hinder efforts to contain the outbreak.
The chemicals, or reagents, are used to extract genetic material from a nasal swab sample, among the first steps in the testing process. Demand for reagents has left a key supplier struggling to keep pace with orders from countries around the world.
The new information provides a clearer picture of why testing shortages continue, even as state and federal officials last week insisted there were sufficient kits.
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