Utah’s ARUP lab halts national coronavirus test orders because of supply shortage

(Photo courtesy of ARUP) An automated track system that is used for incoming specimens to be tested at ARUP laboratories in Salt Lake City.

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ARUP Laboratories in Salt Lake City is no longer accepting orders for coronavirus tests from out-of-state clients due to a limited supply of testing materials, the private lab announced Tuesday.

The move comes amid a national shortage of chemical reagents and testing delays that have left the United States lagging behind some other countries in testing patients for coronavirus.

ARUP will continue to process tests for Utah health systems, said Peta Owens-Liston, spokeswoman for the lab. “That’s definitely a priority,” Owens-Liston said.

Private lab capacity was touted by both state officials and the Trump administration as a possible solution to the lag in testing availability for COVID-19 in the U.S. But ARUP executives say they were beset by the same supply shortages that have hampered testing in public labs. ARUP has been working with its suppliers to obtain what it needs to scale up testing, “particularly test reagents,” according to a news statement.

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“We have the expertise, staff, and instrumentation to perform high-volume testing,” CEO Sherrie Perkins said in the prepared statement. “But when demand exceeds our ability to deliver timely results, it’s in patients’ best interest for clients to send tests to laboratories with sufficient supplies to deliver fast turnaround times.”

ARUP also is working with other labs, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration “to address the constantly changing supply landscape,” the news release stated.

“Our main goal is to ensure patients get the testing they need, and get it quickly,” Perkins said. “What is best for patients will always guide our decisions as we deal with unprecedented constraints.”