Shortage of pipette tips is slowing US COVID-19 testing

Labs across the country are facing shortages of pipette tips, which are needed to quickly and precisely move liquid between vials during the COVID-19 testing process, The New York Times reported. 

Tecan, a Swiss company that supplies pipette tips for machines in hundreds of U.S. labs, has seen demand so high in recent months that it has had to use an emergency stash of supplies. It's racing to install new production lines, and Martin Brändle, the company's senior vice president of corporate communications and investor relations, told the Times the company is hoping to double its output by fall. 

Pipette tips help speed the testing process and without them, some people have had to wait days or weeks to get their COVID-19 test results. 

A recent survey by the Association of Public Health Laboratories found that more than 20 percent of the 72 institutions surveyed will run out of at least one item required for testing within a week, according to the Times

"It’s a merry-go-round of shortages," Karissa Culbreath, the scientific director of infectious disease, research and development at a New Mexico lab told the Times. "Just when we think we’ve dealt with one issue, another challenge pops up."

Read the full article here.

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