Press Release

Ministry of Health & Social Development
BVI Health Services Authority
Release Date:
Wednesday, 27 January 2021 - 10:14am

The BVI Health Services Authority (BVIHSA) has received a new automated extraction machine as it continues to enhance its laboratory arsenal to provide more efficient COVID-19 testing.

Laboratory Manager, Ms. Colette McCurdy said the authority is also expecting an additional qTower thermocycler and that these pieces of equipment will increase productivity and COVID test results turnaround times tremendously. 

“Currently most of the RNA extractions are performed manually and is complemented by an automated extractor with the capability of 16 extractions in 38 minutes.  With this additional extractor we will be able to do 48 automated extractions in one hour,” she said.

Ms. McCurdy said the BVI Health Services Authority will now be able to test 188 COVID-19 specimens per session, with all the equipment combined working towards improved efficiency. This she said is expected to almost double the current output of 96. 

From March to November 2020, the lab tested more than 6,000 samples for COVID-19.  Between December 1 and January 15, that number dramatically increased to over 18,000. 

“Since the borders opened in December, the laboratory has been required to do more COVID testing,” Ms. McCurdy said, adding, “Right now our capacity is around 250-300 tests per day, with the addition of the new equipment we will have the capacity to produce between 450-500 test results per day.”

The BVI Health Services Authority is committed to delivering excellent, compassionate, client-centered healthcare across the Territory.


Natasha Lettsome-Humphrey

Public Health Communications Specialist
Ministry of Health/Social Development
Telephone: 468-2286