Proud to Offer Faster COVID-19 Results

By Kurt A. Barwis, FACHE

May 04, 2020

I am thrilled to announce that the residents of Greater Bristol now have access to faster COVID-19 test results as a result of the Bristol Health Laboratory adding the ARIES System to its molecular testing arsenal.
The ARIES System—which is manufactured by Luminex Corp.—includes three analyzers which are able to provide COVID-19 results within three to eight hours after the specimen is loaded for testing. The ARIES System went live in the Bristol Health Lab on Monday, April 27. This is one of the most valuable additions to our lab and will have an immediate positive impact with its real-time reporting capabilities. The ARIES System allows us to control every aspect of the sample-to-answer testing process.
The cost of the ARIES System, which includes cartridges, primers and other associated equipment, is approximately $300,000. The system was generously funded with gifts from the Robert Rosenheim Foundation and the Beekley Family Foundation. The Main Street Community Foundation and the United Way of West Central Connecticut also helped support the purchase of the ARIES System, as well as some individual donors. The Bristol Hospital Foundation is accepting donations from either businesses or individuals to help offset the total cost of the ARIES system. Anyone who is interested in donating, please reach out to Mary Lynn Gagnon in the Foundation office at 860.585.3002.
We are elated by the generosity of these organizations at a time when it’s needed the most. Testing is key to defeating this enemy and they stepped up for not only our patients and families but for the health and well-being of our front-line medical staff and employees as well.
COVID-19 is currently the priority for the ARIES System but the capabilities of the system include real-time testing and diagnosis of other infectious diseases such as the influenza and C. difficile.
We launched our Specimen Collection Station on March 13 and more than 2,000 nasal swabs have been gathered so far. Early on, the specimens were sent to the University of Washington lab and Quest Diagnostics in Virginia with an average turnaround time of five to seven days. Jackson Labs in Farmington also has provided testing for health care employees as well. The majority of these collected specimens will now be tested in-house with the ARIES System.                                                                   
This system will allow our laboratory to meet the current needs of our customers, patients and the health needs of companies and their employees. It will allow future growth as we continue to validate more tests to offer to our community.
The addition of the ARIES System comes at a time when we all need good news—it will have an immediate impact now and for years to come.