HomeNewsPathology ‘big cat’ arrives at Bundaberg Hospital

Pathology ‘big cat’ arrives at Bundaberg Hospital

Panther Fusion analyser
Bundaberg Hospital’s newly-installed high volume testing pathology instrument, dubbed the ‘Panther’, is set to expand local COVID-19 and other respiratory condition testing capacity. Photo:

A newly-installed high volume testing pathology instrument, nicknamed “Panther” will help expand local COVID-19 and other respiratory condition testing capacity at Bundaberg Hospital.

Just like its namesake, the Panther Fusion analyser, worth more than $275,000, is fast, intelligent and capable of testing about 900 samples a day when purring along at full capacity.

The Panther uses Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing, which is considered the most sensitive method for testing for COVID-19. PCR testing amplifies viral genetic material so any trace of the SARS-CoV-2 virus can be detected.

Member for Bundaberg Tom Smith said the new analyser was the second for the Wide Bay region, with the first installed at Hervey Bay’s Pathology Queensland lab in early 2021.

“Equipment like the new Panther pathology machine ensures that we can have a strong health response, and we can get on with the job of delivering Queensland’s economic recovery from the pandemic,” Mr Smith said.

“Having a Panther based right here in Bundy will make a huge difference to the local community and certainly ease pressure on the Hervey Bay lab, which I am told has done an exceptional job during peak demand.

“It means all routine testing can now be performed onsite, resulting in faster turn-around-times for results to make sure people get the right treatment in the fastest possible manner.”

Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service's Debbie Carroll said the new the Panther Fusion analyser in Bundaberg would process samples from around the health service including Gin Gin, Childers, Eidsvold, Gayndah, Mundubbera, Biggenden and Mount Perry.

“The positive effect of having this second Hologic Panther Fusion will be felt beyond just Bundaberg and is a crucial addition to our service capability while responding to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ms Carroll said.

“Even better, the effect will be felt not just now in the context of COVID-19, but well into the future when carrying out other pathology testing such as for influenza, rhinovirus and other respiratory illnesses and infections, which is particularly timely as we enter our next flu season (April to October).

“The installation of the new machine has been a collaborative effort between Pathology Queensland and WBHHS and I congratulate and thank all involved in achieving this wonderful outcome for our region.”

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