Delaware State University’s Molecular Diagnostic Lab awarded accreditation

By Delaware State University

The Accreditation Committee of the College of American Pathologists (CAP) has awarded accreditation to the Delaware State University DSU Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory, the highest standard a testing facility can accomplish.

The accreditation was based on a recent on-site inspection of the Kirkwood Highway lab which was opened in December 2020 and at the peak of the COVID-19 Omicron Variant outbreak was handling close to 2,000 samples on a daily basis.

CAP accreditation is designed to ensure the highest standard of care for all laboratory patients. Inspectors examine two years of laboratory records, quality control procedures, equipment, staff qualifications, safety programs and overall management.

“It took a lot of work and a lot of planning,” said Dr. Derrick Scott, an associate professor of biology at Delaware State University and executive director of the lab. “Accreditation approval is proof that your lab is top of the line.”

The U.S. federal government recognizes the CAP Laboratory Accreditation Program as more stringent than its own. CAP accreditation lasts for two years but labs in the program are subject to unannounced inspections at any time.

Delaware State University, in conjunction with New Castle County, officially launched the lab in January 2021. Before its opening, the University was sending samples to a California lab.

Funding for the Diagnostic Laboratory came from $5.5 million invested by New Castle County from federal CARES Act dollars it received. A former U.S. Army Reserve building, the 49,000-square-foot facility was awarded to Del State by the federal government in 2013.

Dr. Scott said that lab supervisor Pragna Patel, who has more than 30 years of experience working in laboratories, was instrumental in earning the accreditation.

Patel said even though it was not the first CAP accreditation she has secured, it was gratifying. “This is the highest recognition a lab can have,” she said. “I am very proud for us.”