In an ally forged to tackle COVID-19, universities in the state of São Paulo have mobilized to launch a platform aimed at speeding up the purchase of the necessary supplies to produce diagnostic tests.
Some 20 laboratories belonging to three institutions—the University of São Paulo (USP), the State University of Campinas (Unicamp), and the São Paulo State University of Júlio de Mesquita Filho (Unesp)—will take part in the initiative, spearheaded by Butantan Institute Director Dimas Covas.
According to Covas—also a member of the state’s Coronavirus Contingency Center—efforts have already proved successful. He reported that the first batch of kits from South Korea should arrive next week and that the acquisition of reagents is underway.
The fact that laboratory supplies must be imported is mentioned as one of the main obstacles by Brazilian scientists developing experiments and diagnostic kits for COVID-19. The increased demand for the items has also hindered the progress of studies.
Vice-Director of USP Medical School Roger Chammas said that one of the platform’s strategies is to ensure the acquisition of products are centralized at the state health secretariat. This should mitigate the problem, argued Chammas, who is also coordinator with the USP Network for the Diagnosis of COVID-19 (Rudic).
To overcome the challenge of purchasing reagents, the project team has also sought to expand the number of options available. Unicamp specialists in the project have worked to gauge the effects of several brands of reagents, in order to find alternatives to the supplies commonly used.
*With information from Agência Fapesp