LOMPOC, Calif. - Several businesses are getting creative during the pandemic. Many are even helping in the health sector, including one business in Lompoc.
Merso Labs started in Lompoc as a cannabis testing lab, but it's now pivoting to help run COVID-19 testing during the pandemic.
The lab analyzes swab tests, and currently process 400 samples a day.
They are increasing their capacity so they can soon process more than double that. The lab's turnaround time is three days or less.
Kali Freeman, MD, medical director at Merso Labs, said their testing "shows 100% sensitivity (based on known positive and negatives, with cross-validation with samples from both Cottage and Marian Hospitals), and 99.5% specificity."
The lab is currently running tests for Lompoc Valley Medical Hospital, nursing homes and several school districts. The biggest priority is helping health sectors and essential industries.
"I think the biggest demand is in school districts that are trying to get their kids back into school," said Kaleb Asfaha, CEO of Merso Labs. "As a parent, I feel for the parents and the teachers. And so we're here and we are open to all private and public sectors."
Originally, the lab was intended to test cannabis. After more than a year's process, it received a cannabis testing license this past month, and is now testing cannabis on top of COVID-19.
Merso Labs is the first cannabis testing lab in the county, and hopes to serve central and south coast dispensaries.
The lab says in the future it hopes to continue expanding diagnostic services, beyond COVID-19 and cannabis testing.