Jamaica Begins Training For Testing Of COVID-19 Variants

Jamaica is bolstering its COVID-19 testing capacity with laboratory staff now being trained to use the island’s recently acquired genome sequencing machine.

This will bolster the country’s ability to analyse samples of the SARS-CoV-2 virus locally and to determine the presence of variant strains within the population.

Six medical personnel have completed four days of a two-fold training in laboratory work and data analysis, facilitated by international trainers from Illumunia, manufacturers of the genome sequencer. The seven-day training signals another phase in commissioning the machine for use and will result in speedier testing for COVID-19 variants.

Speaking at last evening’s COVID Conversation, Health and Wellness Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton noted that more staff will be taught how to use the machine.


“The team has completed the lab training and will now spend the next three days doing data analysis. These six trainees will be able to teach other members of the health team, so that we have a cadre of personnel who are equipped with the knowledge and know-how to operate this machine and the others to come,” highlighted Dr. Tufton.

Minister Tufton further revealed that testing is underway with the first batch of samples.

“The training is utilizing recent samples submitted to the National Public Health Laboratory and the National Influenza Centre, so by next week, if all goes well, we will be able to determine the variants that present in the population,” Dr. Tufton added.

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