UW Medicine develops its own COVID-19 test

SEATTLE -- UW Medicine has developed its own COVID-19 test and should be testing 1,000-1,500 people per day by the end of the week.

Researchers said the test was developed in response to a national shortage of novel coronavirus tests and the current COVID-19 outbreak in Washington state. As of 11 a.m. Wednesday (March 3), there were 39 confirmed cases and 10 deaths statewide. The spread in Washington state is largely tied to an outbreak at a Kirkland nursing home.

The UW-developed test targets two distinct regions of SARS-CoV-2, the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase gene and the E gene. If two targets are detected, the test is positive.  If one target is detected, the test is inconclusive.  If no targets are detected, the test is presumptive negative.  All results are considered presumptive and positive and inconclusive specimens are sent to state public health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for further testing.

Although this will drastically increase the number of available tests in Washington state, the test still can only be ordered by a doctor based on the patient's risk factors and symptoms and with guidance from the CDC and local and state health departments. You cannot refer yourself for testing.