Vancouver, Washington-based Molecular Testing Labs ("Molecular") announced today that it has partnered with Boston-based Concentric by Ginkgo, the public health and biosecurity effort at Ginkgo Bioworks ("Ginkgo"), the organism company, to offer pooled COVID-19 testing for schools across the country.
Ginkgo is the country's largest provider of COVID-19 testing for K-12 schools, offering pooled testing at over 800 schools across more than a dozen states. Molecular is an industry leader in self-collect diagnostic testing. Molecular has run COVID-19 testing in every state in the U.S.
"This partnership allows us to get kids back in the classroom in an affordable and easy way," said Molecular co-founder James York. "Pooled testing will also be key to America's economic recovery and we look forward to expanding our partnership to other venues.
"Pooled testing will also allow the $12 billion being invested in testing by the Biden Administration to go further and allow for more frequent testing of students and teachers," York said.
"Enabling testing for every student and every teacher, every week, gives schools the information they need to make informed public health decisions in real time," said Jason Kelly, Ginkgo's CEO and co-founder. "Parents can rest easier knowing their kids are being continually tested while attending in-person classes."
Pooled classroom testing, which combines swabs from all consenting individuals in a classroom and runs them as a single test, can significantly increase testing capacity and lower the cost of testing programs. Results come back within 48 hours and pooled testing can cost as little as $6 per person.
Since the protocol for having even one positive test in a classroom can be the same as having multiple positive tests, a single pooled result can provide timely data to schools to inform further mitigation efforts. The tests are also easy for schools to administer and can be used on students from kindergarten on up. Test kits are provided by Ginkgo. Each test combines samples collected from a group of people, usually 10-12, but ranging as high as 25. The samples are then shipped to Molecular Labs to be analyzed and results are delivered on a secure, online portal.
The test kits offered by Ginkgo provide schools with everything teachers need to easily test students as young as 5. The test kits come with easy-to-understand training materials and a return priority shipping label.
About Molecular Testing Labs
Molecular Testing Labs' mission is to provide accessible and innovative laboratory solutions through collaborative partnerships with payors, private healthcare institutions, universities, and public health organizations. Molecular Testing Labs has revolutionized access to convenient and affordable testing and has designed a proprietary information system capable of monitoring patient specimens for adherence to medical testing policies. In addition to traditional labs, Molecular Testing Labs has pioneered unique distribution and specimen collection methods that open access to medical testing where geographic, financial, and stigma barriers once created gaps in care. These unique methodologies advocate for improved compliance in required annual testing and access to follow-up care. Molecular Testing Labs takes pride in setting itself apart on the principles of innovation, integrity, and partnership. More information can be found at moleculartestinglabs.com.
About Ginkgo Bioworks
Headquartered in Boston, Ginkgo Bioworks uses the most advanced technology on the planet —biology — to grow better products. The company's cell programming platform is enabling the growth of biotechnology across diverse markets, from food to fragrance to pharmaceuticals. Ginkgo is also actively supporting a number of COVID-19 response efforts, including community testing, epidemiological tracing, vaccine development and therapeutics discovery. For more information, visit ginkgobioworks.com.