UVA Health has developed its own test for COVID-19

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — The University of Virginia health system has developed and deployed its own testing for COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus.

UVA Health announced in a news release Thursday that it had begun testing Wednesday. The development comes as Virginia, like the rest of the nation, faces a shortage of supplies that have limited who can get tested.

UVA, which said it is one of the few institutions across the country to have engineered its own test, expects to have capacity for testing at UVA Hospital and all UVA clinics. In the immediate future, testing will be performed on patients with signs, symptoms and histories deemed by health care providers to be at high risk, the news release said.

The university in Charlottesville said it is working to “ramp up to support broader community testing.”

Public frustrations over the difficulties getting tested for the new virus have been building since the first U.S. case was confirmed Jan. 20. Early missteps with test kits developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, coupled with strict government criteria about who qualified for screening, have led to widespread reports of people struggling to get tested. Even those who manage to get successfully swabbed often report long delays in getting the results back due to lengthy backlogs at government-run labs.

The increase in area testing as a result of the development of the tests is likely to result in a spike in the number of positive cases in the coming days, UVA said.

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The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.


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