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High-tech mobile van-in lab brings needed testing to underserved communities < Yale School of Medicine

Officials at the Yale Pathology Laboratory (YPL), the Department of Pathology at Yale School of Medicine, and the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH) announced a new mobile van-based laboratory that will allow bring-in of much-needed tests. . to underserved communities in Connecticut.

The van allows for the collection of patient samples, processing of tests, including saliva-based COVID-19 PCR tests, and delivery of results, all on the same day and in different locations. It also provides opportunities to provide clinical instruction to community members. Funding for this support will come from his RADx Underserved Populations initiative at the National Institutes of Health. The program was launched to accelerate innovation in the development, commercialization, and implementation of COVID-19 testing technologies.

This van was made possible thanks to a collaboration between YPL and YSPH, which resulted in YSPH creating a saliva-based PCR test. YPL Molecular Lab provided the necessary clinical validation to prepare the test method for emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration. The Yale Lab-in-a-Van research project is led by principal investigator Angelique Levi, MD, associate director and director of outreach programs at Yale Pathology Labs. and Dr. Ann Willey, a research scientist at the Yale School of Public Health, who helped develop the PCR test.

The van can connect to an outdoor outlet or generator and can return PCR test results in as little as two hours, providing sophisticated testing services directly to underserved areas. The ability to deliver test results on-site and on the same day is an added benefit for communities and individuals who do not have access to Wi-Fi or the ability to receive private health information electronically.

“The problem of low-income and marginalized populations lacking adequate health care has existed long before COVID-19. Adds to the tools we currently have to combat systemic viruses, allowing us to directly deliver our services to these populations and informing the operation of future models for pandemic preparedness. can do.”

Chen Liu, M.D., chair of the Department of Pathology at Yale School of Medicine, said early in the pandemic that YPL recognized the need to be closer to the front lines of patient care and needed to refurbish fully licensed high-complexity molecules. Stated. Bringing the lab into a consumer-sized van “gives us the option to efficiently deliver accurate diagnostic information when and where we need it.”

The new van debuted at Yale West Campus on April 20 after YPL and YSPH officials held a meeting with community partners to discuss suggestions on how to best utilize the new resources. Partners include Alliance for Living (New London County), Columbus House, Inc. (Hartford, Middlesex, New Haven, New London Counties), Liberation Programs (Fairfield County), New Haven Health Department, West Haven Health Department , APT Foundation (New Haven County), and others.

Among the proposals considered were: deploying social workers alongside YPL teams to address other patient needs; treatment and awareness of all respiratory illnesses, not just COVID-19; Among them, using a van was mentioned. Other potential needs/uses for the van include health checkups such as blood sugar and blood pressure tests, vaccinations such as COVID-19 and hepatitis B, health education, and educational materials for harm reduction and sexually transmitted disease prevention. etc. were mentioned. Attendees agreed that the partnership with Yale School of Medicine will encourage people to visit the van.

The Molecular Van Laboratory will be operated by trained laboratory technicians and community health navigators and will initially offer SARS-CoV-2 testing to all individuals who give informed consent, including: It also includes free testing for up to 400 uninsured people in Connecticut. 2023. Health information will also be provided onsite to connect individuals who test positive for COVID-19 with appropriate community resources for care and support.

“This is a new chapter in laboratory practice for us,” said John Sinard, MD, director of clinical operations and CLIA laboratory director at Yale Pathology. “This is truly a portable laboratory, creating a great opportunity to explore new ways to bring clinical testing to the community. Our laboratory is accredited by the College of American Pathologists, and this association holds us to high standards. The inspections in this van are carried out to the same high standards.”


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