The immense increase in the number of corona tests in germany is leading to capacity problems.
In the week of 10. Until 16. August, the participating laboratories had a backlog of 17.142 samples to be processed, according to the current "epidemiological bulletin" of the robert koch institute (RKI). 41 laboratories had named supply problems for reagents.
The problems could lead to delays in clearing possible sars cov-2 infections – and thus in initiating protective measures by health authorities. "It therefore seems appropriate to prioritize the use of the tests with regard to the desired gain in knowledge, depending on free test capacities," the RKI said.
The number of tests arranged has risen dramatically recently, partly due to the mandatory testing of travelers returning from risk areas. According to RKI data, in calendar week 31 of 27. July to 2. August still around 578.000, the number was already more than 875 two weeks later.000. In the week of 20. Up to 26. In april, the number of tests was still around 364.000 located.
Consumables and reagents were only stocked in the laboratories for short periods due to their limited shelf life, among other reasons, the RKI said. In addition, there is a strong dependence on individual manufacturers for some products. With the number of tests continuing to rise and due to supply shortages in the face of increasing global demand, the free capacities of the laboratories could be reduced in the coming weeks.
The association of accredited laboratories in medicine (ALM) had already voiced concerns and criticism about the massive expansion of corona's test offerings early on. In view of limited capacities, targeted rather than random testing is necessary. It is not important to fulfill every politician's wish, said the first chairman michael muller last week. In the end, there was a risk of a lack of resources for the care of the sick, in clinics and nursing homes, and in the detection of chains of infection. The association had explained that tests in the medical environment would take 24 to 48 hours to produce results, and would be prioritized.
Currently, 250 laboratories (as of calendar week 33) are registered for the RKI test laboratory query or in one of the other transmitting networks and transmit mainly on a weekly basis. Since there may be subsequent registrations for tests held in previous weeks, the figures determined may change at a later date.