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Salmon farmers offer up lab for COVID-19 testing


(Photo: AquaChile)

AquaChile has converted its laboratory in Puerto Montt, Chile, exclusively for COVID-19 testing for the southern part of the country, a company statement said.

The company’s Laboratorio Biologia Molecular (ALAB) started performing tests for the novel coronavirus on March 30th, according to Alexis Martinez, ALAB’s general manager.

“The company made this long-standing laboratory in molecular biology treatment available to health and military authorities in charge of the Los Lagos region. Thus, it becomes a key facility to control, through early detection, the expansion of the disease in Puerto Montt, the island of Chiloé and all of the southern Chile,” the company said.

In addition to testing for prevention, AquaChile also committed its laboratory capabilities to “all aspects of the research and development area that help covid-19’s knowledge, prevention and control.”

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In addition to dedicating its laboratory equipment and personnel for COVID-19 testing, AquaChile’s subsidiary salmon producer Verlasso has donated 7,500 lbs of salmon to various non-profit organizations in the U.S.

Last month, salmon producer Mowi announces it was also making available its Chilean laboratory facilities for COVID-19 testing. The lab is capable of analyzing 1,000 samples daily, which the company hopes will help relieve the pressure on the country’s public health system.

“Widespread testing and early detection has been key to successful pandemic containment, which has been carried out by countries such as South Korea, whose health strategy was based on early diagnosis of the virus,” said Mowi Chile managing director Fernando Villarroel, in a LinkedIn post.