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Aug 11, 2020 | News and Announcements

Justin Bellante Speaks with the Wall Street Journal, 11 Alive News and Wink TV on COVID-19 Testing Challenges and Solutions

BioIQ CEO Justin Bellante recently spoke with reporters at the Wall Street Journal, 11 Alive News and WINK News regarding COVID-19 testing in the US and solutions to improve access to tests, reduce wait times for results and help businesses and schools reopen safely.

“Pinewood Atlanta is trying to solve a riddle facing a host of businesses, schools and universities headed into this fall: How much COVID-19 testing is needed to ensure people can stay safe and keep organizations functioning amid a pandemic.” – Sarah Krouse, WSJ

Wall Street Journal reporter Sarah Krouse profiled the COVID-19 testing efforts underway at Pinewood Atlanta Studios, where BioIQ is running testing. The Georgia-based shooting site for Avengers: Endgame is screening workers weekly as producers and set designers return to prep for resuming production. As Krouse reports, “an app tracks workers’ symptoms between tests, and a badge system prevents anyone without a negative [COVID-19] test result from opening doors on the lot.”

Today, roughly 200 Pinewood workers get a nasal-swab COVID-19 test each day and that number is expected to climb to 3,000 to 6,000 workers once production is underway. “The frequency of testing for workers at the studio is determined by factors such as the level of person-to-person interaction in their jobs. The highest-risk workers are tested three times a week,” reports Krouse.

Read the full Wall Street Journal article here (subscription may be required): It Takes a Lot of Covid-19 Tests to Keep a Movie Studio Open

Bellante also spoke with Atlanta-based 11 Alive News reporter Chenue Her about the barriers to widespread COVID-19 testing in the US to date.

Bellante points to tight testing networks as a key point of failure. “We have an oligopoly in this country from a lab perspective. We have a handful of labs that control all the lab distribution and unfortunately, they’re not able to deliver on the capacity,” Bellante said.

Bellante champions the use of a broader, national network that includes smaller, independent labs to scale and streamline national testing efforts. Bellante also proposes diversification of the way testing is done as a key piece in improving access. “We need to start to look at other workflows like home testing or home sample collection workflow and others beyond that,” he said. A broader array of testing solutions can reduce the supply chain burdens America has experienced due to reliance on limited and overburdened supplier sources.

Bellante echoed those sentiments on in an interview with Florida-based Wink News reporter Justin Kase. “We have a standard clinical lab infrastructure in this country, and it’s very good at one type of function,” Bellante said. “That’s routine testing for heart disease, diabetes and things like this. It’s not made for a pandemic.”

He encourages state health departments in hotspots to work with labs in other states where cases are not surging, “leveraging labs in the middle of the country that probably have a lot of spare capacity right now.”

Bellante says it’s critical to start preparing for flu season now so lab results don’t get even more delayed. In anticipation of the pending flu season, BioIQ recently announced availability of an at-home, multi-panel test that screens for COVID-19, flu A and flu B, and 21 additional respiratory illnesses using a single saliva sample.

To learn more about BioIQ’s return-to-work solutions for employers and universities, visit https://www.bioiq.com/covid-19-solution/.

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