UNC Health begins COVID-19 testing at UNC Medical Center


This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (yellow)—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (pink) cultured in the lab. Credit: NIAID-RML

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.(WNCT) Clinical microbiology experts at the UNC Medical Center and UNC School of Medicine in Chapel Hill have developed a COVID-19 diagnostic test based on the World Health Organization (WHO) assay.

It is now in use to conduct COVID-19 testing for UNC Health patients in accordance with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidance for individuals who meet criteria set by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The UNC test will initially be available only for inpatients at UNC Medical Center, UNC REX Hospital and UNC Health affiliate hospitals across North Carolina as well as a select number of UNC Health clinic locations.

Use of this test by UNC Health entities will allow for more testing capacity at the state health department and LabCorp in North Carolina.
“Quickly creating and validating tests for emerging pathogens has always been part of my passion and commitment, ever since I was a fellow here during SARS. We have developed a high-quality test, we have the infrastructure to roll it out, and are ready to help the people of our state,” Melissa Miller, Ph.D., director of the Clinical Microbiology and Molecular Microbiology Labs at the UNC Medical Center said.
“The ability to conduct in-house testing is a crucial step in our response to COVID-19,” Burks said. “Our ability to test patients and receive results in a matter of hours will help us to better understand the spread of the virus in our state and, most importantly, allow us to quickly move to treat positive patients and provide relief to patients who test negative,” Dr. Wesley Burks, UNC Health CEO and Medical School Dean said.
For more information, check the UNC Health COVID-19 Resources website:

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