BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore have created their own coronavirus test they hope will help address the need for more testing for the virus.
Doctors at Hopkins said the country needs to be able to test for the virus on a quick and larger basis. That’s why they created a test on their own.
Hopkins began using the test on Wednesday and by Thursday night, they will have tested 50 samples.
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In the coming weeks, doctors hope they’ll be able to test as many as 1,000 people per day.
Hopkins is now one of multiple private hospitals stepping in to assist to help alleviate the overload currently being places on public labs and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Another hospital, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, has also created its own test, WCCO reports.
Doctors Karen Caroll and Heba Mostafa helped to develop Hopkins’ test.
“I think every hospital that has a laboratory needs to be able to do this testing,” Carroll said.
Mostafa told WJZ their work is essential in order to meet the increased need and demand for the test.
“We didn’t expect this to become a pandemic,” she said. And because of that, public health labs will not be able to handle all of the required testing.
The new Hopkins test takes 24 hours to yield results, but Mostafa hopes that she can develop the test to where results could be ready in as little as three hours.
Back in February, the CDC created its own coronavirus test but later announced it did not always perform properly, rendering many results inconclusive.
Mostafa said there are precautions put in place so that wouldn’t happen with their test.
“If we have any inconclusive result, we will have a backup testing,” she said.
Carroll added another reason widespread testing needs to start ramping up in the U.S. is to help doctors better trace the virus.
“You really cannot implement your contact tracing if you can’t identify people who have the disease,” she said.
According to data from Johns Hopkins Medicine, data currently suggested that 80 to 85 percent of people who are infected will have mild to no symptoms, said Lisa Maragakis, Senior Director of Infection Prevention with Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Doctors said that makes widespread testing even more important.
As of Thursday afternoon, Hopkins had completed 20 tests and all were negative for the COVID-19. So far, 12 people in Maryland have had confirmed cases of COVID-19.