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Laboratory Stakeholders Ask White House for More Transparency on COVID-19 Testing Supplies

NEW YORK – Six laboratory stakeholder organizations sent a letter Tuesday to Vice President Mike Pence requesting more transparency surrounding allocation of COVID-19 testing supplies.

The letter was sent by National Independent Laboratory Association, the American Association for Clinical Chemistry, the Association for Molecular Pathology, the American Society of Microbiology, the American Association of Bioanalysts, and the American Medical Technologists.

In it, they asked for transparency into the allocation and availability of testing supplies, reagents, and other materials, such as test kits and pipette tips. It also requested the White House encourage production of these supplies and reagents that are currently in short supply. The organizations offered to partner with the task force to meet these goals and added that the country can't rely on one test platform or a few large manufacturers to meet capacity requirements. 

"We must make use of our entire laboratory capacity and ensure that labs all over the country in every setting have access to the testing supplies they need immediately," the letter said. "Nearly eight months into the COVID-19 public health emergency, the medical supply chain remains weak and laboratories still do not have the supplies needed to meet the testing needs of their communities."

Organization members are reportedly facing difficulties obtaining these supplies, particularly test kits and pipette tips, making them unable to meet testing demand. One laboratory cited in the letter has a capacity to perform at least 3,000 tests per day but only receives enough supplies to process 500 per day.

"COVID-19 test volume and turnaround time are lower and longer than they should be," the letter said. "Compounding this problem is a lack of transparency into the federal government's acquisition and distribution of testing supplies to states and private laboratories."

The letter also noted that the current efforts to share this information, such as the Medical Device Shortage listing from the US Food and Drug Administration, aren't specific enough to allow laboratories to understand when and where supplies can be obtained.

The six organizations are requesting a meeting with the White House Pandemic Task Force to discuss the issue.