Vimal Patel, MBA

What's Hot in 2021: More CLIA-Certified Labs

The pandemic has increased the need for more local laboratory testing.  CROs are stepping up to fill the gap

The coronavirus brought to light this year the need for high volume, high quality testing.  The scope of this testing endeavor, sorely needed to address the demands of this global health crisis, was clearly greater than local laboratories could reasonably manage. But who could step in to help fill the gap?

Many contract research laboratories, like Charles River, had the expertise and platform capabilities but lacked the certification required by federal agencies to conduct this type of public health testing. But if the pandemic has taught us anything it is the need for rapid response and collaboration. Recognizing the public need, contract labs like my site in Reno stepped in and established a CLIA-certified lab and within four months received approval to conduct diagnostic PCR testing to detect an active COVID-19 infection. We are now actively tackling the active influenza/COVID-19 multiplex test for 2021 and to dramatically increase testing capacity.  This will quickly allow us to diagnose the diseases so that appropriate treatment plans can be developed.

The COVID-19 pandemic has opened new opportunities for labs to collaborate with local health agencies so that testing capacity can be quickly brought online. Look for more synergies between commercial and public health labs in the New Year, in the fight to contain, control and hopefully eliminate the virus.

-- Vimal Patel, MBA, Senior Director, Laboratory Sciences, Charles River