During the first few months of the American coronavirus outbreak, the country experienced an acute shortage of test kits and related equipment — the supplies needed to track the spread of the virus and trace infected individuals.
Since late April, shortages have eased, and testing capability has expanded in many parts of the country. This has been possible, in part, because of collaborative efforts among scientists, health experts and businesses that retooled operations to produce COVID-19 testing kit components.
At the outset of the pandemic, Ramy Arnaout, associate director of the Clinical Microbiology Laboratories at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, knew that the first COVID-19 testing bottleneck hospitals would face was the shortage of nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs needed for sample collection. “The reason why is that these swabs are manufactured by a company in northern Italy called Copan, and northern Italy, as everybody knows, was hit very hard,