East Bay pop-up laboratory to improve speed of COVID-19 test results

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- U.C. Berkeley says by next week their robotics lab should be able to analyze 1,000 novel coronavirus test results in a single day.

This news comes as we continue to hear horror stories about the lengthy wait times to get COVID-19 test results.

U.C. Berkeley is currently analyzing COVID-19 tests from the student health center in their robotic testing lab.

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They're hoping to analyze tests from medical centers in the community by next week.

"It's hard to say how many we'll do initially but we know we will have the capacity to ramp up to about a thousand a day and potentially higher than that," Dr. Jennifer Doudna, professor of molecular and cell biology and of chemistry said.

That's good news for so many. Rochelle Collier lives in Sonoma County. She waited more than two weeks to find out that she did not have COVID-19.

She did have another form of coronavirus called HKU1, but was told quote, "that one isn't the deadly one."

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The new robotic lab is a pop- up laboratory made up of more than 50 volunteer scientists from U.C. Berkeley and U.C. San Francisco. They're expecting a certification by next week that would allow them to analyze tests from nearby medical centers.

"So that we can get results back to doctors within 24 hours... I think this is a very important way that we can address the virus right now," says Dr. Doudna.

U.C. Berkeley hasn't said which medical centers they'll be partnering with, but may have that information in the next week. They have been in talks with medical locations close to campus in the East Bay.

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