CAY HILL–St. Maarten Laboratory Services (SLS) has made a significant stride in its ability to more efficiently execute its tasks with the acquisition of a Biofire FilmArray 2.0 analyser.

The new, high-tech analyser will be installed at SLS this week and is expected to be put to use as of the middle of this month. The machine costs around US $40,000 and a distributor from Curaçao was in St. Maarten to install and conduct training with SLS staffers.
SLS Director Dr. Nasser Ajubi said on Tuesday that with the new technique the machine uses, SLS will be able to rapidly detect multiple pathogens (viruses, bacteria, parasites) in samples such as stool or from the respiratory tract. This is done using a so-called molecular biology (PCR) technique.
With one test-run, more than 20 different pathogens are identified simultaneously from the sample and results are available within one hour, Ajubi said. “The main focus of SLS NV right now is to offer these services to the Public Health Department as part of their continuous syndromic surveillance. These tests will rapidly identify what pathogens are causing the community-based outbreaks and can help guide corrective measures to limit or stem these outbreaks.”
He added that the technique used is also very effective, especially in urgent/critical care situations where doctors will require a rapid answer. “This may lead to rapid turnaround-time of results, which will help speed up therapy in some cases and may even shorten the treatment of the patient. This is part of the ongoing efforts of SLS NV to offer an all-round testing portfolio to its clients and to strengthen its role as a public health laboratory,” Ajubi said.

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