The Monseñor Sanabria Hospital (HMS) in Puntarenas is the first regional medical center of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS) that has a molecular diagnostic laboratory, announced Dr. Román Macaya, executive president.
The HMS began the analysis of covid-19 tests on Wednesday and as of this Friday they had analyzed 362 samples, 91 positive. This medical center on average analyzes 120 daily tests at this time of: Quepos, Parrita, Jacó, Orotina, San Mateo, Esparza, Barranca, Peninsula, Paquera, Cóbano, Chira Islands, Venado and Caballo, Monteverde, Puntarenas Centro, Montes de Oro , Chomes, Monteverde.
The strategy of regionalization of molecular biology laboratories will increase institutional capacity in the processing of covid-19 tests and other pathogens and the opportunity for diagnosis, said Dr. Macaya.
The executive president mentioned that this strategy involves several efforts, on the one hand the CCSS opted for an investment of resources from the central and local level to purchase the tests, remodel infrastructure, and assign human resources, to which are added donations from tests and equipment.
The hierarch reported that the Fund invested 2.4 million dollars from the Contingency Fund that manages the Center for Emergency and Disaster Attention of the Fund (CAED) for the purchase of 120 thousand open PCR tests, to which is added investment in complementary equipment for test processing.
In addition, the medical centers have established a local budget for infrastructure. In the case of HMS, 14 million colones were allocated to remodel the 50-square-meter area of the laboratory. New staff have also been assigned to the laboratory, which includes: a microbiologist, a laboratory graduate and a microbiology assistant in a single shift. In the other shifts there will be a microbiology assistant.
Macaya explained that donations from the AmCham company have been essential for the development of this strategy, which donated 50,000 open PCR tests for covid-19 laboratory diagnosis, worth 1.1 million dollars. The tests have passed the review and quality control process, they are already being used.
This donation includes the equipment on loan from the commercial house, which in turn ensures maintenance.
Another important support has been that of the International Atomic Energy Organization (IAEA) with the donation of complementary medical equipment for the processing of the test with which the HMS laboratory and other medical centers were set up. An extra donation from the IAEA also in equipment is in process.
The technology being used is open PCR and two teams will be installed in each medical center, one that performs the extraction of genetic material and the other performs DNA amplification and reads the results. These equipment can process 200 samples per day, which will significantly increase the installed capacity in the CCSS for covid-19 diagnosis.
With this regionalization strategy, a platform of molecular diagnostic laboratories is being created, which makes it possible to expand these molecular diagnoses to different parts of the country. The hospitals will gradually follow: Max Peralta, Geriatrics and Gerontology, Tony Facio, Enrique Baltodano Briceño and a center in the southern area that is yet to be defined.
Macaya indicated that it is estimated that, in 10 years, 60 percent of diagnoses could be due to genetic diagnosis (cancer, infectious diseases, blood diseases.