Synlab sees large rise in COVID-19 testing after Tartu outbreak

Synlab headquarters in Tallinn.
Synlab headquarters in Tallinn. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Private laboratory diagnostic firm Synlab says that the recent coronavirus outbreak centered on Tartu has led to a rise in the number of tests carried out by the company, almost to peak-of-pandemic levels.

"Last week, we carried out almost 2,500 tests in one day, which is almost the level of the crisis," Rainar Aamisepp, board chair at Synlab, told ERR morning radio show "Vikerhommik".

Aamisepp noted that 1,000 of these were in Finland, which the company has also been serving, since earlier in the summer.

In general the company is carrying out around 1,000 tests per day, compared with 250-300 in previous weeks.

Aamisepp said the maximum current capacity is 2,000-3,000 tests in a day, but it could, by reorganizing its work, boost this to 4,000-5,000 per day.

The company is better prepared for mass testing than it had been during the peak of the pandemic in spring, Aamisepp added, saying that regardless of the new Finnish capacity, Estonian resting remained a priority.

Aamisepp said that in addition to standard sample testing, the company had also been testing for coronavirus antibodies since May, though more as a sideline, due to ambiguity over what exactly the presence of antibodies reveals.

A recent University of Tartu study suggested that antibody prevalence shows a coronavirus rate among the general populace up to ten times, at least in Tallinn, what standard swab tests had revealed, with 80 percent of those carrying antibodies being symptomless.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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