Covid-19 Testing Saps Supplies Needed for Other Medical Tests

Tests to diagnose coronavirus infections are diverting chemicals needed to look for other diseases, lab directors say

Health experts say having a vaccine is just one front in a two-front battle against COVID-19. The other is effective treatments for those who are already sick with the disease. WSJ breaks down the three most promising types in development. Photo Illustration: Jacob Reynolds/WSJ.

Covid-19 tests have siphoned supplies crucial for other kinds of medical exams, including strep throat, fungal infections and sexually transmitted diseases, forcing some labs to ration testing for certain conditions.

Doctors and laboratories face shortfalls of the swabs, chemicals and other equipment needed to test patients and process tests, partly because supply chains were rewired during the pandemic to ramp up production of Covid-19 tests.

Due to the shortages, some medical-testing labs have had to limit how many samples they can process and what conditions they can test for.

Roughly 30% of labs surveyed the week of Oct. 26 by the American Society for Microbiology and the Association of Supply Chain Management said they were experiencing shortages of supplies to detect bacteria that cause infections such as strep throat, bronchitis and urinary-tract infections.

Half of the 127 labs surveyed said they were short on supplies for routine fungal infections ranging from superficial skin conditions to serious lung and blood diseases, the society said.

To Read the Full Story

Continue reading your article with
a WSJ membership

View Membership Options