September 8, 2020
A saliva-based laboratory diagnostic test to determine whether someone is infected with the novel coronavirus is now available from inHealth Life Sciences.
The method, called SalivirDetect, has been validated as a test for asymptomatic individuals through the same monitoring that tests players and staff from the National Basketball Association. SalivirDetect is a simpler, less invasive, and less expensive test than the traditional method for coronavirus screening, known as nasopharyngeal (NP) swabbing. Results so far have found that SalivirDetect is highly sensitive and yields similar outcomes as NP swabs currently being used.
With the FDA's emergency use authorization, this testing method is immediately available to health systems and their reference labs that want to start using the new test, which can be scaled quickly due to less reliance on testing supplies currently scarce in healthcare laboratory supply chains. A key component of SalivirDetect, is that the method has been validated by reagents and instruments readily available from multiple vendors. This flexibility enables continued testing even if some vendors encounter supply chain shortages as flu season approaches.
"When coronavirus hit the US, our lab team recognized the potential for supply chain constraints and turn around times when NP testing became the go to method," said Dr. Deborah Keil, laboratory director at inHealth Life Sciences. "Our team was thrilled to contribute to Yale School of Public Health's advances towards saliva becoming a better alternative to testing. We are humbled and motivated to contribute on a large scale in the fight against coronavirus."
Since its inception, inHealth Life Sciences has worked in partnerships with health systems across the country to localize esoteric laboratory testing in key markets across substance abuse, medication management, and molecular pathology.
"We are uniquely positioned to deliver this innovative test on a massive scale quickly for health systems nationwide," says Trent McCallson, President and CEO. "Our teams work closely in the field with medical groups and their affiliate markets. We have the knowledge and the wherewithal to develop and execute a test that benefits both patients and physicians. Our turnaround times and ease of collection are going to provide some relief for hospitals and medical groups. This really is a game changer to take our fight against coronavirus and put us on the offensive."
As a CLIA certified high complexity laboratory, inHealth is already a major player when it comes to saliva based testing methods. Most notably, they have delivered saliva based toxicology testing as an effective tool for providers in the fight against Opioid abuse.
"Innovation is at the core of what we do and who we are," says Tony Michuda, Executive VP and CSO. "With coronavirus hitting as hard and fast as it has, health systems are truly doing the best they can just to keep up. This is our way of having their backs and driving a groundbreaking testing alternative into their medical groups and the communities they serve. Not only is our new test easier on the patient, but it protects healthcare professionals as well. A saliva test is self administered and has tremendous savings when it comes to PPE during collections."
McCallson and Michuda said they are already in development with health systems to commercialize the method. They are committed to both providing a benefit of service from running tests directly and teaching health systems how to develop their testing methods locally. Testing for SARS-CoV0-2 has been a major stumbling block in the fight against the pandemic, with long delays for results and testing shortages. Localizing this method is what they believe can solve a nationwide dilemma.
"SalivirDetect rapidly increases our throughput capabilities for health systems vs traditional NP swabs," said Dave Crane, Vice President of Development, who has spent most of his career running large systems across the country. "We know the pain points and quite frankly, we knew there was a better way. This solves so many headaches that would keep any CEO up at night."
inHealth is furthering their research and development of their saliva based coronavirus test to add an additional respiratory panel as flu season quickly approaches. This will test for both coronavirus and similarly behaving respiratory influenza viruses.
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