The College of American Pathologists (CAP) is encouraging Congress to increase resources for testing and expand laboratory capacity in its next covid-19 relief package. In a letter to House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders, who were marking up the covid-19 relief bill, the CAP reiterated its concerns regarding persistent shortages of testing supplies and the need for additional assistance to fight this pandemic.

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“Specifically, the CAP supports the committee’s inclusion of $46 billion in funding for covid-19 testing and the implementation of a testing strategy that supports investments in laboratory capacity,” wrote CAP President Patrick Godbey, MD, FCAP, in the letter to the Energy and Commerce Committee. “In addition to the specified activities outlined by the committee, we would emphasize that these funds should be used for a broad range of tests, including SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid tests, for a variety of communities and practice settings.”

The CAP has surveyed laboratory directors throughout the pandemic who reported that more testing could be done if they had all the necessary supplies. Laboratory directors have cited problems acquiring testing supplies, particularly test kits, plastic pipette tips, specimen acquisition swabs, and transport media, as the greatest barriers to increased testing.

The CAP also supports the committee’s recommendation to include $1.75 billion in funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) related to genomic sequencing of covid-19 but recommended a broader approach that includes academic medical centers that have the resources to carry out this research. In addition, the CAP supports $7.6 billion in funding for the public health workforce and urged the committee to direct funds for medical examiner offices.

The CAP has also engaged with the Biden administration as it counters the covid-19 pandemic, especially those elements of the new strategy concerning diagnostic testing.

For more information, visit the College of American Pathologists.