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Fort Worth company partners with Ginkgo Bioworks on COVID-19 testing in K-12 Schools

🕐 3 min read

CQuentia is partnering with Concentric by Ginkgo, the biosecurity and public health effort at Ginkgo Bioworks Inc. to provide a scalable and simple testing modality – pooled testing – to serve communities across the country working to establish in-person learning in their schools.

The Biden Administration has announced it will invest $10 billion to increase COVID testing to help schools reopen, $2.25 billion to scale up testing in underserved populations, and provide new guidance on asymptomatic testing in schools, workplaces, and congregate settings.

“Now, more than ever, the world needs accurate molecular testing to identify those people who are at-risk, infected or immune to the novel coronavirus to better understand, manage and contain this pandemic,” said Alan Meeker, CEO of CQuentia, based in Fort Worth.

CQuentia said in a news release that that in addition to asymptomatic testing, the Centers for Disease Control will invest nearly $200 million to identify, track, and mitigate emerging strains of SARS-CoV-2 through genomic sequencing.

Increasing genomic testing of positive samples will improve the CDC’s ability to detect emerging variants and understand their spread with greater precision.

This means laboratories, such as CQuentia, that can accommodate both COVID-19 testing and genomic sequencing are well-positioned to become a one-stop-shop to handle the country’s COVID-19 testing needs.

Among other nationwide COVID-19 testing programs, CQuentia was a 2020 participant in the PACER Health and Human Service program for COVID-19 testing offered through Walmart drive-through locations across the country.

“Through mobilization of CQuentia’s integrated resources, including our molecular and sequencing laboratory and COVID-19 test, we believe we can offer value by providing reliable pooled testing results to K-12 and other congregate populations in as little one day from receipt of specimen. That’s why we’re excited to announce this partnership with Concentric by Ginkgo, and to utilize our lab capacity for this vital national effort,” Meeker said in announcing the partnership.

Concentric by Ginkgo’s goal is to provide easy, affordable pooled testing to every school in America, allowing schools to test every student, every week.

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. Concentric currently operates testing for hundreds of schools across more than a dozen states.

“We are proud to announce our partnership with CQuentia, both because of the technical excellence they’ve demonstrated, as well as the strategic importance of their location and logistical integration with FedEx SuperHub,” said Jason Kelly, CEO and co-founder of Ginkgo Bioworks. “As we rebuild from this biological catastrophe, testing every student, every week can help bring confidence to communities operating in-person learning, supporting them with the information they need to make decisions and interrupt potential chains of transmission.”

CQuentia is a molecular laboratory for personalized medicine with a history in Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) in both sequencing and assay work as well as a history in viral pathogen testing and identification.

The company said it is uniquely positioned to pivot for nationwide COVID-19 testing. Its CLIA labs have validated and offered patient testing for COVID-19 caused by the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) since early 2020.

http://www.cquentia.com

Headquartered in Boston, Ginkgo 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.

www.ginkgobioworks.com

To learn more about Concentric by Ginkgo or to get your school district involved, visit: https://www.concentricbyginkgo.com

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