July 13, 2020 Intelligence: Late-Breaking Lab News

On July 9, eight national laboratory associations sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence to request that the White House Coronavirus Task Force take action to resolve major obstacles that constrain the ability of their member laboratories to perform molecular and serological tests for COVID-19. Specifically, the lab associations want action and resolution on supply chain issues. The letter noted that “At times, our members have even received faulty or unusable equipment, including swabs from the Strategic National Stockpile, which has further impeded our work to combat this pandemic.”

MORE ON: White House letter

One important request in the letter is for the government to provide a list of the names and contact information for the individuals that currently oversee the supply chain in each state. The lab associations also offered to be a conduit between the state officials directing supply distribution and the labs that need COVID-19 supplies.

Signing the letter were the:

  • American Association of Bioanalysts
  • American Association for Clinical Chemistry
  • American Medical Technologists
  • American Society for Microbiology
  • Association of Public Health Laboratories
  • Association for Molecular Pathology
  • College of American Pathologists
  • National Independent Laboratory Association



• ARUP Laboratories of Salt Lake City announced retirements of three long-serving individuals. July 1 was retirement day for Carl Wittwer, MD, PhD, Medical Director of Immunologic Flow Cytometry. As a pathology resident, he arrived at the University of Utah School of Medicine and ARUP Laboratories in 1988. Wittwer holds “dozens of U.S. patents and their foreign equivalents.” He invented the LightCycler system, an instrument that led to the creation of the company that evolved into BioFire Diagnostics.

July 2 was retirement day for Noriko Kusukawa, PhD, Vice President of Innovation and Strategic Investments at ARUP. She served for 20 years and is the wife of Carl Wittwer, MD, PhD.

Karl Voelkerding, MD, Medical Director of Genomics and Bioinformatics at ARUP, is retiring after 17 years at ARUP. No retirement date was provided. Prior to ARUP, he was on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine for 11 years.

That’s all the insider intelligence for this report. Look for the next briefing on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020.



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