Lab Director Speaks to the Challenges of COVID-19 Testing: Elaine Lyon, HudsonAlpha

Elaine Lyon, Clinical Services Lab Director at Hudson Alpha Institute for Biotechnology

Bio and Contact Info


0:00 Scientific challenges - no time with this virus

5:00 What makes a good COVID-19 test?

8:27 Scaling challenges

13:01 Why haven’t at-home tests worked?

17:10 Labs slow to respond due to regulatory uncertainty

22:16 What are your thoughts on the new VALID and VITAL Acts?

26:55 What phase of testing are we currently in? What’s the solution going forward?

Why have diagnostic tests for the Coronavirus been slow on the scene? What have been the challenges for lab directors? Were they scientific? Were they regulatory? Were they scaling challenges? Are they still scaling challenges? Supply chain problems?

Elaine Lyon worked for many years at the molecular genetics lab at ARUP at the University of Utah and is now the Clinical Services Lab Director at Hudson Alpha. In both of these jobs she has designed and overseen the design of many diagnostic tests.

She takes us behind the scenes and talks about the many challenges so many lab directors have been facing over the past month in developing good diagnostic tests for the Coronavirus. Perhaps she will answer some of your questions.

“It got to us before we had many papers to be looking at. We’ve been doing it so quickly. Usually in the scientific field, you do appropriate experiments, you analyze, you draw your conclusions, write up your findings, submit for publications, which is then peer reviewed and published and disseminated to the scientific community. Obviously that wasn’t able to happen here. So we’ve been communicating in other ways. Still going to what is published online. And yet we need to make sure this information is correct."