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PUCP: The Genomics Laboratory receives authorization to make molecular diagnostics of COVID-19

The COVID-19 epidemic is a constant challenge that concern us all. For scientific research, one of the challenges has been to have laboratories with necessary equipment and technology for molecular-based tests required for the ideal diagnosis. The Genomics Laboratory of PUCP is a cutting edge research laboratory that uses advanced molecular techniques to study various infectious diseases caused by viruses and bacteria.

Recently, the laboratory received certification from the INS to make molecular diagnostics of COVID-19, with clinical diagnostic certification. «Achieving this certification needed a series of efforts to set up the spaces and equipment we already had to meet the requirements of PCR tests for clinical diagnostics» says Mariana Leguía Lama, doctor in Molecular Biology, Cellular Biology and Biochemistry and current director of the Genomics Laboratory of PUCP.

In this context, it was also used to purchase additional equipment and train more professionals. Therefore, the laboratory can continue with its routine research and additionally make molecular-based tests for the detection of COVID-19 with clinical validity.

For the first phase of work, no diagnostic services will be given to third parties. The idea is to be prepared to give support, if MINSA requires it, and meanwhile to make our own epidemiological surveillance.

In this phase, the university will focus on the PUCP community, and particularly on workers who come to the university campus in person and require diagnostic tests.

Everything for Peru

The collaborative work and social interest of PUCP has been constant throughout the health emergency: in May, kits were donated to the INS for 500 molecular-based tests. Today, with an increase in cases and a potential second wave in the country, the work of academic organizations, as the Genomics Laboratory of PUCP, is more necessary than ever. «This authorization has a great purpose: to be part of the national network of academic laboratories that have been authorized by the INS to help the government with clinical diagnosis, if needed» says Leguía.

So far, 72 laboratories in Peru are capable of making molecular diagnostics for COVID-19, a great effort that benefits the entire population. «We must continue to fight and teach by example that we can, that we Peruvians have the capacity to develop cutting edge technology and make clinical diagnostics in laboratories with top-notch infrastructure. We must be prepared, putting personal interests aside and working for the country,» concludes Mariana Leguía.

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