Introduction . The evolving SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic presents a series of challenges to clinical diagnostic services . Many proprietary PCR platforms deployed outside centralised laboratories have limited capacity to upscale when public health demands increase . We set out to develop and validate an open-platform mobile laboratory for remote area COVID-19 diagnosis, with a subsequent field trial.Gap Statement . In regional Western Australia, molecular diagnostic support is limited to near point-of-care devices . We therefore aimed to demonstrate open-platform capability in a rapidly deployable format within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.Methodology . We compared, selected and validated components of a SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR assay in order to establish a portable molecular diagnostics laboratory . The optimal combination of PCR assay equipment, reagents and consumables required for operation to national standards in regional laboratories was identified . This comprised RNA extraction and purification (QuickGene-480, Kurabo, Japan), a duplex RT-PCR assay (Logix Smart COVID-19, Co-Diagnostics, USA), a Myra liquid handling robot (Biomolecular Systems, Australia) and a magnetic induction thermal cycler (MIC, Biomolecular Systems).Results The 95 and 99% limits of detection were 1.01 copies µl-1 (5.05 copies per reaction) and 2.80 copies µl-1 (14.00 copies per reaction) respectively . The Co-Diagnostics assay amplified both SARS-CoV-1 and -2 RNA but showed no other cross reactivity . Qualitative results aligned with the reference laboratory SARS-CoV-2 assay (sensitivity 100% [95% CI 96.48-100 %], specificity 100% [95% CI 96.52-100 %] ). In field trials, the laboratory was operational within an hour of arrival on-site, can process up to 36 samples simultaneously, produces results in two and a half hours from specimen reception, and performed well during six consecutive runs during a 1 week deployment.Conclusion . Our mobile laboratory enables an adaptive response to increased test demand, and unlike many proprietary point-of-care PCR systems, rapid substitution with an alternative assay if gene targets change or reagent supply chains fail . We envisage operation of this RT-PCR assay as a standby capability to meet varying regional test demands under public health emergency operations guidance.