New COVID-19 test developed in Oklahoma can test 180,000 in 3 months

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A game changer for testing will soon be available at OU Medicine. On Thursday, doctors announced a new test that can reach thousands of people.

The Oklahoma COVID-19 PCR test was designed by researchers at OU Medicine, the OU Health Sciences Center, the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, and Fluidigm Corporation.

The test is almost exactly the same as the one already in use.

“What is different about our test is that we automate much of the process and we use very small volumes,” said Mark Lynch, Fluidigm Corporation North America Director of Microfluidics.

With less of the reagents, or testing chemicals, needed, supply issues can be avoided.

The test also requires smaller amounts of a patient’s sample, so the sample can be tested five times for more accuracy.

For now, OU Medicine has the only lab that will be approved for this test, but doctors can collect samples from around the state.

OU Medicine doctors predict 1,800 people can be tested per day once the lab site is up and running, and 180,000 in the next three months.

Test results can be expected in about six hours.

OU Medicine applied for Emergency Use Authorization for the test, and it could begin as early as next week.

“One of the big challenges that we’ve had is that we’ve had many patients, especially patients who aren’t very, very, seriously ill who are concerned that they have symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19,” said Dr. Judith James, Vice President of Clinical Affairs at the OMRF. “This expanded capacity will allow us to make this test more available to patients that have mild to moderate disease or even to people who may have been exposed either through work or being a first responder, or through living with someone who may have been diagnosed.”

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