Until a COVID-19 Vaccine is Available, Widespread Environmental Testing for SARS-CoV-2, Coupled with Effective Disinfection Regimen, Shortens Path to Preserving Public Confidence and Enabling Facilities to Remain Open Amidst Periodic Flare-Ups
New Brunswick, Canada – LuminUltra, the Canadian biotechnology leader and developer of the GeneCount qPCR system, and Florida-based Source Molecular, a leader in pathogen testing, today announced a strategic partnership designed to increase environmental testing for SARS-CoV-2 in North America.
LuminUltra’s GeneCount qPCR system enables customers to conduct rapid, on-site environmental testing for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and receive results in as fast as 90 minutes. GeneCount enables evidence-based knowledge to verify an environment has been effectively returned to a safe-state, with no indication of SARS-CoV-2, enabling people to fully work, live and play with confidence. In situations where on-site testing presents technical or logistical challenges, Source Molecular will provide industry-leading, lab-based pathogen testing capabilities.
“While reopening the economy prior to the introduction of a COVID-19 vaccine will require pervasive human testing and tracing, enabling the economy to stay open amidst inevitable flare-ups and emerging hotspots will demand widespread environmental testing for the presence of SARS-CoV-2,” said LuminUltra Chairman and CEO Pat Whalen. “To maintain momentum in the return to normalcy, SARS-CoV-2 will need to be effectively recognized and mitigated as quickly as it reappears in schools, restaurants, offices, and the countless other locations and facilities in which people gather.”
“At a larger scale, environmental testing for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 can also be applied to wastewater systems as a method to evaluate the health of a population, whether it be in a municipal setting, at a significant industrial facility, or in a campus environment,” Whalen continued.
“This partnership with Source Molecular creates a full range of testing and analysis options for organizations seeking to maintain an environment free of SARS-CoV-2 and minimize any disruptions caused by the introduction of the virus in the weeks and months ahead,” added Whalen. “Coupled with effective disinfection protocols, organizations can now utilize qPCR testing to maximize facility safety and be alerted to even asymptomatic virus spread among employees, students, or residents, either onsite via LuminUltra’s GeneCount qPCR system or remotely through our partnership with Source Molecular.”
“It is clear that if we are going to truly slow the spread of COVID-19 we need a scientific approach to testing our air, waste and surfaces. At Source Molecular we have been helping identify sources of contamination in the environment for close to two decades with our industry-leading pathogen testing program,” said Mark McIntosh, CEO of Source Molecular. “We are excited to be partnering with LuminUltra to expand our reach in this time of need.”
Why Environmental Testing for SARS-CoV-2?
qPCR testing for SARS-CoV-2 can be successfully applied to nearly any surface that humans might come in contact with, including tables, doorknobs, and utensils, as well as to the air circulating within a facility. Users of LuminUltra’s GeneCount qPCR system require minimal training to collect, process, and analyze samples and in less than two hours will know whether the virus was detected. This allows for additional cleaning to be performed if needed and gives facility operators confidence that risk is being avoided.
Until such time as a vaccine is widely available, restoring and preserving confidence in the safety of facilities will be a critical element in the ability to remain open. Confidence can be reinforced through a qPCR-based environmental testing regimen to quickly determine the health of facilities before and after cleaning. Detection of SARS-CoV-2 through environmental testing can also serve as an organization’s early warning that danger looms in their facility and potentially among their employees, residents, students, etc., and trigger a variety of crucial actions to mitigate risk and reduce spread, including contact tracing and human testing.
“Consistent environmental testing and rapid remediation can help spell the difference between widespread exposures and prolonged closures, and the ability to quickly and decisively certify the health of a facility and keep the doors open,” added Whelan.
Founded in 1995, LuminUltra is a molecular diagnostic testing company and developer of the GeneCount qPCR system which enables customers to conduct rapid environmental testing for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Verifying environmental safety has been at the core of LuminUltra’s business for 25 years and advocating for a proactive, evidence-based approach to biosafety is a cornerstone of LuminUltra’s value proposition. The company has dozens of Fortune 500 customers, sales in over 80 countries, and operations in six countries. At the same time, LuminUltra fosters a culture of innovation and agility and is on an accelerated growth path, acquiring multiple companies in recent years and forming a partnership with the specialized private equity firm XPV Water Partners. Additional information can be found at luminultra.com/environmental.
About Source Molecular
As the world’s only ISO 17025 accredited environmental lab for SARS-CoV-2, Source Molecular provides industry-leading pathogen testing, mapping and forensics for water, soil, surfaces, and air. The company’s analytical capabilities target dangerous elements — from SARS-CoV-2to pollution to superbugs — that threaten the health and economic strength of our communities. The company partners with clients to identify, track, and test microbial contamination and pathogens, as well as interpret the data and craft the remediation plans that lead to real-world solutions.