Local Pasadena Lab Develops COVID-19 Diagnostic Tests

A local lab offers PCR tests for COVID-19 with results in 24-hours.

Dr. Mohammad A. Kamal and his team of scientists at OmniPathology developed a test in their Pasadena lab which allows them to make a diagnosis in two hours.

“We provide a quick 24-hour turnaround because there is a high demand to get results,” said Kamal, MD Founder and CEO of OmniPathology. He is a pathologist with a medical degree from Cairo University School of Medicine. Kamal completed residency in anatomic and clinical pathology and a fellowship in gastrointestinal pathology at UCLA Medical Center, is certified by the American Board of Pathology, and has practiced for more than 20 years analyzing biopsied tissue or bodily fluid for medical tests.

OmniPathology can fill a local need, Kamal said, because the majority of COVID-19 tests are done outside of Southern California and the wait time is a week or more due to the current high demand and huge backlog. Currently, the lab can perform 110 tests per day received from local physicians, clinics and hospitals.

“We just started testing COVID-19 so we are not at full capacity and we are available to serve the local community,” said Kamal.

The benefits of OmniPathology’s quick COVID-19 Lab Developed Test LDT are the elimination of patient anxiety and being able to immediately isolate those who test positive.

“After the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) announced it was looking for high complexity laboratories to develop diagnostic tests for COVID-19, we poured our hard work and resources into developing this new test,” said Kamal. “We are in the process of applying for FDA approval for our test under the FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) policy.”

The test is performed on swabs collected by physicians and nurses utilizing Real-Time PCR technology performed on a Becton Dickinson BD-Max system. Unfortunately, OmniPathology is short on swabs.

“What is important to us is that we need local support to get supplies of swabs,” said Kamal. Unlike national labs, OmniPathology does not have readily access to a large stock of swabs to provide physicians and run the tests in the lab.

“It would be a shame if we have the ability to do 110 tests every day but unable to do the tests because of not having enough swabs,” said Kamal. “We need our local officials to advocate for us here in Pasadena and L.A. County.”

OmniPathology is working on expanding its capability to do COVID-19 for up to 500 or even 1,000 tests a day by adding instruments and modifying its process. In addition to COVID-19 testing, OminPathology is a full-service pathology lab that specializes in diagnosing gastrointestinal, gynecological and male disease conditions.

“We felt it was our duty to focus our efforts on helping with this national health crisis,” said Kamal. “There is a need here and it is always best to go with a leading local laboratory.”

OmniPathology is located at 11 W Del Mar Blvd., Suite 203 in Pasadena and can be reached at 626-744-5339.

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