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Battelle and Wexner Medical Create New COVID-19 Diagnostic Test

Battelle and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center have jointly developed a new rapid, sensitive diagnostic test for COVID-19. The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center will administer the new test under its existing FDA certification permits. This will increase and improve test processing in Ohio according to existing state clinical guidelines.

The new rapid test will allow for faster turnaround time on test results, which will help “flatten the curve.”

Battelle researchers spent several weeks working in the company’s West Jefferson labs to develop a diagnostic assay and complete a validation process, with early results suggesting exceptionally high sensitivity.

Since March 14, more than 100 Ohio State Wexner Medical Center researchers and clinicians have worked with Battelle researchers nights and weekends to stand up the lab that will support COVID-19 testing. After enough data was gathered by researchers at both institutions, Ohio State processed its first 91 tests for diagnosis Wednesday using cutting-edge Battelle and Ohio State equipment in a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)-certified pathology lab at Ohio State.

Battelle is now working to bring a second lab online in West Jefferson, with the intent of making more test processing available. Battelle is in the process of receiving a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA) from CMS to begin its own clinical testing.

“Ohio State and Battelle teams have shown incredible leadership and ingenuity in moving this project forward so rapidly,” said Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine. “With this collaboration, we will increase testing right here in Ohio to better help health care professionals and public health officials understand, treat and prevent the spread of the virus.”

Results of the test can be available in as few as five hours. Initially, the system can process approximately 200 tests per day, but when the infrastructure is fully built over the coming weeks, the goal is to process more than 1,000 test swabs per day.

“Battelle has decades of experience in infectious disease research and has worked with virtually all federal health and national security agencies to respond to emerging health threats,” said Lou Von Thaer, Battelle’s president and CEO. “I am incredibly proud of the Battelle team, the speed at which it was able to work around the clock to quickly get this operational, and our collaboration with The Ohio State University.”

Battelle’s infectious disease, genetic and virology experts teamed up with researchers and scientists across Ohio State’s College of Medicine, including immunologists, microbiologists, pathologists, epidemiologists and data analytics researchers for this project.

“We’re proud of the partnership of our dedicated scientists with Battelle researchers to help find innovative solutions for the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world,” said Dr. Hal Paz, executive vice president and chancellor for health affairs at Ohio State and CEO of the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. “Our physicians and nurses are eager to start administering these tests that will greatly increase our capacity to diagnose more people and assist us in finding solutions for this disease. Testing is just one of more than 50 new research areas aimed at combatting COVID-19 underway at the Wexner Medical Center. We are working hand in hand with Battelle on many of these critical projects.”

Battelle is contributing its expertise and using its specialty facilities, including the largest, private BSL-3 laboratory in the United States, and is actively working on several other solutions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 testing requires an order from a physician or other advanced practice provider. Based on feedback from the Ohio Department of Health, testing is prioritized for inpatients in hospitals and other facilities, outpatients who are moderately ill but who are at high risk for serious illness (e.g, elderly, immune compromised, underlying lung disease, etc.), health care providers and first responders. Asymptomatic patients do not need to be tested.

People who believe they need to be tested should contact their primary care provider, local hospital or your local health department for further direction.

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