Change the course of the pandemic: UMass Medical School, Boston tech company at center of national push to – MassLive.com

UMass Medical School in Worcester and a Boston biotechnology company are in the center of a push by the National Institute of Health to increase coronavirus testing results to more than a million a week by September.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) announced on Friday it is investing $248.7 million in new technologies to seven companies including Ginkgo Bioworks.

The Boston-based company is tasked with developing a process that can produces tens of thousands of individual tests results at once. The idea is to have Ginkgo Bioworks work with with universities, schools, public or private companies and local communities, NIH said.

Ginkgo Bioworks will provide end-to-end sample collection and report results within 24-48 hours from sample receipt. The company is expected to perform 50,000 tests per day in September 2020 and 100,000 per day by the end of the year, NIH said.

NIH also awarded UMass Medical School with more than $100 million in grants to participate in the institutes Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics, or RADx, program.

Chancellor Michael F. Collins said the program could change the course of the pandemic.

The RADx initiative was launched in late April and is supported by federal stimulus funding.

We need to get to a place where you get up in the morning, youre going about your day, you brush your teeth, youre putting your saliva sample or nasal swab, and then you run your test in your home every day to determine if you have COVID, David McManus MD, a professor at UMass Medical Center said in a statement.

The companies that received funding from NIH range from small start-ups to large publicly held organizations. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has provided advice on test validation and is prioritizing the review of emergency use authorization (EUA) for tests supported by RADx, NIH said.

The companies selected Friday were narrowed down through a one week in a scenario that NIH compared to a shark-tank evaluation process. Thirty-one concepts made the cut and moved to Phase 1, which included a four to six-week period of initial technology validation.

The seven tests announced today are the first to be chosen for scale up, manufacturing and delivery to the marketplace through RADx. But more than 20 companies will be considered in the coming weeks.

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