Farmington Lab to Help Ramp Up Coronavirus Testing

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Gov. Ned Lamont said we’re in this fight against the coronavirus together and he called bio and life science companies, like Jackson Laboratory, the quarterbacks of the team.

“I know what this means in terms of working to increase our ability to test dramatically,” said Lamont.

Connecticut’s governor said testing for COVID-19 is already 10 times what it was a week ago.  Now, Jackson Laboratory in Farmington will partner with two of the state’s largest healthcare entities, Hartford HealthCare and UConn Health. 

“It’s critical in the state of Connecticut that we bring on as many sources of testing as possible,” said Dr. Andrew Agwunobi, CEO & EVP for Health Affairs at UConn Health.

Samples collected from their campuses will be sent to Jackson Labs for diagnostic testing with results available to the referring physicians and hospital in 24 to 48 hours. 

Right now, patients can wait up to four days to find out their results. 

Bruce Liang, the dean of UConn Health’s School of Medicine, said the quick turnaround time could be life-saving.

“Knowing who has the virus, particularly those who are vulnerable will be decisive,” he said.

“So we can do a better job of finding out who is a carrier making sure they’re isolated,” added Lamont.

Hartford HealthCare Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Ajay Kumar said a lag in testing is a big hurdle in the COVID-19 fight. 

“This is a disease that’s going to test us in multiple times and multiple ways, but with this kind of collaboration, this kind of partnership, this kind of forward-thinking by state leaders, are going to position us differently as we move forward,” said Kumar.

As scientists race to create a vaccine, there’s also collaboration to find treatments for those suffering from coronavirus, including re-purposing drugs used to fight the flu.

 “For me, it’s just amazing to see the scientific community come together so rapidly around this disease.  I’m very hopeful we’ll have something soon,” said Dr. Charles Lee, the Jackson Laboratory director.

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