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Townsville Laboratory leads the way in offering new testing service



Photo: Council Scientist Cherian Karimpanal using the new testing equipment at the Douglas Laboratory

A new testing service offered at Townsville’s Laboratory is primed to address a gap in North Queensland’s health sector.

The Council-operated lab has expanded its suite of services to offer the testing of endotoxins through the Limulus Amoebocyte Lysate method.

The Limulus Amoebocyte Lysate method utilises blood cells from the Atlantic Horseshoe Crab to detect the presence of endotoxins in water used for dialysis, rinsing of clinical and surgical equipment and testing products that may be administered to people.

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said the new testing services offered at the lab would allow health services in North Queensland to enhance their operational procedures.

“The Townsville laboratory staff are always looking for ways to deliver much-needed and innovative testing services to the community and I am proud to say that we have the only lab in North Queensland that can offer this testing,” Cr Hill said.

“This is ground-breaking in ensuring that local hospitals, clinics and renal units no longer need to send their samples to labs down south to meet their compliance requirements, saving precious time and cutting down costs.

“As our region continues to grow, its important that we continue to look at how we can lead the way in education, training and research and ensure that all sectors, including health, can meet the needs of the community.

“That is why we invested $5 million into the expansion of the lab, which opened earlier this year, and why we continue to explore research and development opportunities.”

Townsville Water and Waste Committee chairperson Russ Cook said the laboratory scientists and the technical staff had been trained in the new method and the service is now being offered to local health providers.

“It is extraordinary how far our lab has come since it was first established in 1984, where our staff are continuing to expand their skills and offer new and innovative services to the community,” Cr Cook said.

“Through the hard work and dedication of the lab staff, we are the most capable local government lab north of Brisbane and we are still continuing to expand.

“The ability to offer the testing of endotoxins through the Limulus Amoebocyte Lysate method is a huge win for health providers in the north, and I know that there are plans to continue moving into areas such as hygiene and emerging environmental contaminants.”

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