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Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Research Team Participates in First External Evaluation of Groundbreaking COVID-19 Test

Newark, N.J. (March 21, 2020) – Dr. David Alland, Director of the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Public Health Research Institute, which is within the Rutgers Biomedical Health Sciences Institute for Infectious and Inflammatory Diseases (i3D), along with his colleagues Drs. Padmapriya Banada and Sukalyani Banik, have conducted the first evaluation of an innovative point-of-care test to detect COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS CoV2 coronavirus that has affected citizens around the world. Cepheid has received Emergency Use Authorization clearance of this test by the Food and Drug Administration.

One of the biggest advantages of this test is that it is very fast and easy to perform without the need for a centralized laboratory. The hope is that this approach will enable decentralized testing for COVID-19, even in physicians’ offices, permitting physicians to make rapid decisions about quarantine, hospital isolation and treatments. Experiments that were undertaken at Rutgers showed that the test was able to detect even very small amounts of SARS CoV2.

According to Dr. Alland, “The test performed even better than our expectations, and we are encouraged about the potential for this test to help control the COVID-19 pandemic."

Designed to be rapid and easy to perform, the new test detects SARS CoV2, with high sensitivity in under 45 minutes, including all sample processing steps. The entire test is performed in a single cartridge that performs sample processing, target amplification, and SARS CoV2 detection automatically when the cartridge is inserted into Cepheid’s GeneXpert® System. Individual patient samples can be tested as soon as they arrive at a testing site because the GeneXpert System allows new test cartridges to be inserted immediately upon arrival without waiting for prior tests to be completed.

The Alland Laboratory and Cepheid have worked together for almost 20 years developing rapid molecular tests for infectious diseases. Together, they developed the first new test in more than 100 years to be approved by the World Health Organization to replace microscopic examination for the diagnosis of Tuberculosis (TB).

 

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Dr. David Alland, Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, and the Public Health Research Institute, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School: David Alland is recognized for his pioneering work on the epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment and evolution of drug-resistant Mycobacterium Tuberculosis and other infectious diseases. He is Chief of the Division of Infectious Disease in the Department of Medicine, and directs the Public Health Research Institute, the Rutgers Bio-Containment Laboratories and the Center for Emerging Pathogens at Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School.

Acknowledgements: Research reported in this press release was partially supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health under award numbers R01AI131317 and UC6AI058608. This content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health

Rutgers New Jersey Medical School: Founded in 1954, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School is the oldest school of medicine in the state. Today it is part of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and graduates approximately 170 physicians a year. In addition to providing the MD degree, the school offers MD/PhD, MD/MPH and MD/MBA degrees through collaborations with other institutions of higher education. Dedicated to excellence in education, research, clinical care and community outreach, the medical school comprises 19 academic departments and works with several healthcare partners, including its principal teaching hospital, The University Hospital. Its faculty consists of numerous world-renowned scientists and many of the region’s “top doctors.” Home to the nation’s oldest student-run clinic, New Jersey Medical School hosts more than 50 centers and institutes, including the Public Health Research Institute Center, the Global Tuberculosis Institute and the Neurological Institute of New Jersey. For more information please visit: njms.rutgers.edu.

Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences: Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS) takes an integrated approach to educating students, providing clinical care and conducting research, all with the goal of improving human health. Aligned with Rutgers University–New Brunswick, and collaborating universitywide, RBHS includes eight schools, a behavioral health network and four centers and institutes. RBHS offers an outstanding education in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, public health, nursing, biomedical research and the full spectrum of allied health careers. RBHS clinical and academic facilities are located throughout the state.