“Absolutely impossible” to take over testing next Tuesday

Ásgeir Ingvarsson


Dr Karl Gustaf Kristinsson, head physician of the medical microbiology and virology department at the National University Hospital of Iceland (Landspitali), says that his department would not be ready to almost immediately take over the task of performing Covid-19 tests at the Icelandic border.

As Mbl.is and Iceland Monitor reported earlier today  the future of the testing passengers on arrival at Keflavik Airport is currently in limbo as the Icelandic genome research company deCode (Íslensk erfðagreining) has decided to no longer run the testing stations that were recently installed at what is effectively Iceland´s only international airport. Kari Stefansson, CEO of deCode, has suggested that the University Hospital take over Tuesday next week.

In an interview with Mbl.is Dr Kristinsson said that work was under way to increase the testing capacity of the virology department but that it was based on the assumption that deCode and its specialists would be in charge of testing until the end of summer. “DeCode was going to take care of [testing] through August and we were planning to have increased our capacity by then. We are receiving quite a lot of samples from patients and there is plenty to do at the laboratory. Construction work is being done so that new machinery can be fitted. It is absolutely impossible for us to be ready this coming Tuesday,” he said.

“If testing of passengers is to continue I can see no other solution than to [have deCode continue doing the work] because the number of samples collected would so high that we will not be able to process them on top of all the samples from patients that we receive.”

Dr Kristinsson says that by the end of August his laboratory will be much better equipped to take over from deCode with just one single piece of new testing equipment being able to process 4.000 samples in a day. “The demand for that machine is so high that we can’t get it any sooner.”




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