Rutgers U. Develops Faster Coronavirus Test; Anti-Parasitic Drug Possible Antidote


The Rutgers biorepository Infinite Biologics (RUCDR) biorepository has announced the launch of a test for the coronavirus, and is using its automation experience and infrastructure to test as many as tens of thousands of samples daily.

The effort significantly increases testing capacity in New Jersey and will provide information that allows people who test positive to self-quarantine, thereby limiting the spread of the virus, RUCDR said. As a result, health care providers, first responders and others will be able to quickly and safely return to work after recovering from COVID-19 and testing negative.

The rapid deployment of the test throughout the state is part of a long-standing partnership between RUCDR and Accurate Diagnostic Labs (ADL), RUCDR said. ADL fast-tracked the validation and verification of new testing methodologies, including saliva, for COVID-19, which will catapult access of testing and screening to the most needed population.

Testing a nasal or throat swab sample determines whether someone is infected, with results available to providers within three days, RUCDR said. Saliva testing would be a new development and would allow testing without the need of a medical provider to take the sample.

“We can accept hundreds to thousands of samples for analysis per day now and potentially will be able to test tens of thousands of samples daily in the next several weeks,” said Dr. Andrew I. Brooks, RUCDR’s chief operating officer, director of technology development, and a Rutgers genetics professor.

“Saliva testing will help with the global shortage of swabs for sampling and increase testing of patients, and it will not require health care professionals to collect samples,” Brooks continued. “Saliva testing will also be important for people who are in quarantine because they don’t know how long it will be until they are no longer infectious. This will allow health care and workers to release themselves from quarantine and safely come back to work.”

RUCDR said it also has submitted an emergency use authorization request for a saliva collection method that will allow for broader population screening.

Researchers at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia have discovered that the antiparasitic drug Ivermectin can inhibit replication of SARS-CoV-2, the virus the causes COVID-19, according to a study published on April 3.

“Ivermectin is very widely used and seen as a safe drug. We need to figure out now whether the dosage you can use it at in humans will be effective—that’s the next step,” study leader Dr. Kylie Wagstaff said in a statement. “We found that even a single dose could essentially remove all viral RNA by 48 hours, and that even at 24 hours, there was a really significant reduction.”

Further research will be needed to determine whether the drug could be used to treat COVID-19.

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