Monash Health Pathology increases COVID-19 testing capacity with new analysers

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have seen a significant increase in demand for pathology services. With quick, accurate testing a vital part of the COVID-19 response, our pathology teams had to rapidly expand their services to ensure testing capacity was at its highest.

Monash Health Pathology has conducted more COVID-19 testing than any other public pathology service in the state. This amounts to more than 213,000 tests, which were conducted all while continuing normal pathology services.

Our pathology team has been installing new instrumentation in the COVID-19 Laboratory to continue to increase our testing capacity. As of 1 February, two new Panther Fusion analysers have come online to help expand COVID-19 testing at Monash Health.

The Panther Fusion system consists of a high throughput analyser which is designed to run real-time PCR assays. PCR – or Polymerase Chain Reaction – is a technique used in Molecular Laboratories to make many copies of the micro-organism of interest in a patient’s specimen – it can be thought of as ‘molecular photocopying’. PCR enables laboratories to detect very small amounts of bacteria or virus in a sample. 

With minimal hands-on time, the Panther Fusion analysers will increase efficiency and productivity. The system is fully automated, with a high capacity enabling 800 tests per instrument per day to be performed. These analysers, along with existing equipment, will enable Monash Health Pathology to run over 4000 COVID-19 tests per day.

We’ve seen the importance of being able to accommodate for sudden surges in testing demand. This addition to our Clayton Laboratory improves turnaround time and allows patient results to be released sooner.

Pictured: Michelle Francis, Senior Scientist Microbiology; Denise Liow, Medical Scientist Microbiology; John Hamblin, Principal Scientist Microbiology.

 

Approved by Karen Lowe



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