The Best-dos Santos Public Health Laboratory has been furnished with kits which will allow the facility to carry out the first level of testing here for all COVID-19 variants.
Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic, said this was “exciting” news as Government looked to expand the role of the lab going forward.
He was speaking during an appearance on the last episode of the CBC TV8’s COVID Queries programme on Monday.
The Health Minister further explained that the lab had been able to test for variants “to a limited extent”, particularly the UK variant, which has been detected here.
“We had to send some of our equipment overseas to be recalibrated to be able to make use of this provision. We are moving in that direction so that at least we will have an idea as to the presence of other variants in this country. Even though we may have to send it over to CARPHA (Caribbean Public Health Agency) or to a Canadian lab that we are partnering with, as well, to be able to give us the confirmatory evidence,” Mr. Bostic noted.
He further stated that Government had already made steps to broaden the services of the laboratory to include research and development. He added that its future services would utilise the knowledge and experience of Barbadians in the diaspora.
Minister Bostic disclosed that Government had already met with these individuals who were very keen to assist “so that … the Best-dos Santos Public Health Laboratory can become a centre of excellence”.