Friday, 21 January 2022 15:44

Jamaica could get first results today from its variant-testing machine

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Jamaica could start receiving results today from genome sequencing done locally, which could confirm the presence of the COVID-19 Omicron variant in the island.
Jamaica acquired a genome sequencer in October but personnel had to await training from the manufacturer on its use.
Health Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton told a media conference yesterday evening that training has now started at the University Hospital of the West Indies. 
"Six healthcare personnel have now completed day four of the seven-day training by two international trainers from Illumina, manufacturers of the machine, and that is going well," he said. 
Dr. Tufton said he was able to look at the equipment and learn "a little bit about the process" so he was "happy to note" the machine is finally being commissioned for use.
He said the first batch of samples, which takes about 24 to 36 hours to be processed, should be ready today. 
"So as soon as that batch comes off the system, we will provide information to the public. And of course, we will load up again to continue to do testing to give an indication of what is happening." 
The Health Ministry is still awaiting the results of other samples tested outside of Jamaica.