Assessment of COVID-19 Molecular Testing Capacity in Jordan: A Cross-Sectional Study at the Country Level

Bara’A Qaqish, Malik Sallam, Maysa Al-Khateeb, Erik Reisdorf, Azmi Mahafzah

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskriftPeer review


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic control measures rely on the accurate and timely diagnosis of infected individuals. Real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) remains the gold-standard method for laboratory diagnosis of the disease. Delayed diagnosis due to challenges that face laboratories performing COVID-19 testing can hinder public health control measures. Such challenges may be related to shortages in staff, equipment or materials, improper inventory management, flawed workflow, or long turnaround time (TAT). The aim of the current study was to assess the overall COVID-19 molecular testing capacity in Jordan as of April 2021. In addition, the study’s objectives included the identification of potential defects that could comprise the utility of the COVID-19 molecular testing capacity in the country. All laboratories certified by the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Jordan to conduct molecular testing for SARS-CoV-2 were invited to participate in this study. Data were obtained from the participating laboratories (those which agreed to participate) by either telephone interviews or a self-reported written questionnaire with items assessing the key aspects of COVID-19 molecular testing. The full molecular testing capacity in each laboratory was self-reported considering 24 working hours. The total number of participating laboratories was 51 out of 77 (66.2%), with the majority being affiliated with MoH (n = 17) and private laboratories (n = 20). The total molecular COVID-19 testing capacity among the participating laboratories was estimated at 574,441 tests per week, while the actual highest number of tests performed over a single week was 310,047 (54.0%, reported in March 2021). Laboratories affiliated with the MoH were operating at a level closer to their maximum capacity (87.2% of their estimated full capacity for COVID-19 testing) compared to private hospital laboratories (41.3%, p = 0.004), private laboratories (20.8%, p < 0.001), and academic/research laboratories (14.7%, p < 0.001, ANOVA). The national average daily COVID-19 molecular testing was 349.2 tests per 100,000 people in April 2021. The average TAT over the first week of April 2021 for COVID-19 testing was 932 min among the participating laboratories, with the longest TAT among MoH laboratories (mean: 1959 min) compared to private laboratories (mean: 333 min, p < 0.001). Molecular COVID-19 testing potential in Jordan has not been fully utilized, particularly for private laboratories and those belonging to academic/research centers. Supply-chain challenges and shortages in staff were identified as potential obstacles hindering the exploitation of full molecular testing capacity for COVID-19 in the country.

StatusPublished - 2022

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Folkhälsovetenskap, global hälsa, socialmedicin och epidemiologi


  • COVID-19


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