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A south Forsyth company has developed a test for the novel coronavirus that officials say can have results within 24 hours.
Bako Diagnostics, a clinical laboratory located at 6240 Shiloh Road, announced on Monday, April 6, that the company had developed a "real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test" that can identify COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, from patient specimens collected using nasal and throat swabs.
“Our development team has been working diligently to make COVID-19 testing more widely available and with 24 hour turnaround time for results,” said CEO Ted Hull.
The test is being offered to clinicians and health care centers under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Emergency Use Authorization as states across the U.S. have sought to ramp up testing to better understand the scope of the COVID-19 pandemic. Confirmed cases and deaths continue to grow statewide, with 8,818 and 329, respectively, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health's latest daily status report Tuesday.
Commercial laboratories like Bako have led the way in testing. A total of 33,713 tests have been conducted in Georgia. Nearly 92% have been performed by commercial labs.
Gov. Brian Kemp announced a partnership Monday with CVS Health to set up rapid drive-thru testing sites that could process 1,000 tests a day and return positive results in less than five minutes. The first one opened Monday in a parking deck at Georgia Tech.
Last week, the state announced a partnership between the University System of Georgia, the Georgia Public Health Laboratory and Emory University to increase Georgia’s COVID-19 testing to process more than 3,000 samples a day.
Bako said its new test meets Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and its lab can process over 2,000 samples a day, with plans to increase capacity.
“Utilizing nasal swabs to collect potential COVID-19 specimens will allow healthcare providers to oversee a patient collecting their own sample, while preserving personal protective equipment that has seen a major shortage across the country,” said Dr. Wayne L. Bakotic, Chief Medical Officer and co-founder of BakoDx.
Bako is working with health care providers to get the tests to the public, and specimens will not be collected at the lab.
“We will work closely with state health officials and health care facilities needing additional testing for COVID-19, and increase test capacity in response to this public health crisis,” Hull said. “We understand the importance our lab plays in the safety of the public, patients, healthcare providers and our employees.”
Clinicians or other health care providers can contact the company by phone at 1-855-422-5628 or online at BakoDx.com.