Mirimus, Inc. Partners with Eckerd College to Enable COVID-19 Surveillance Testing of Staff and Students Using Pioneering SalivaClear Testing Platform
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Pooled saliva testing method enables frequent, high-quality, low-cost detection of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19
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NEW YORK, March 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Mirimus, Inc., a leader in conducting high-volume, high-quality PCR testing, today announced a partnership with Eckerd College, a private, coeducational college of liberal arts and sciences in St. Petersburg, Fla., to enable weekly COVID-19 surveillance testing of faculty, staff and students using its pioneering SalivaClear COVID-19 pooled saliva testing platform. The SalivaClear platform consists of three key elements – saliva-based sampling, pooled testing and gold-standard PCR molecular diagnostics – that, when combined, enable frequent, high-quality, high-throughput, low-cost detection of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Eckerd initiated its COVID-19 surveillance program in Fall 2020 and ramped up testing the week of January 4, 2021 in conjunction with the start of the Winter Term. Under the first phase of the Winter program, Eckerd began by testing 50% of its 1,800 students and 400 staff and faculty each week on an alternating basis. In mid-February, Eckerd's COVID-19 program transitioned to the current testing regimen whereby students, faculty and staff are divided into four groups with each group tested once a month. Eckerd College also uses the tests to investigate potential clusters of cases in specific segments of the campus population.
Rather than run each COVID-19 test separately, a time and cost-intensive process, saliva samples from up to 24 individuals are combined, or pooled, and then analyzed in a single test at Mirimus' laboratory. Since Eckerd's testing program began, a total of 5095 tests comprising 218 pools have been performed with 25 positive cases reported. The resulting data has helped the college's health administrators guide and adjust the school's response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
"Eckerd College is proud of our partnership with Mirimus and encouraged by the success we have had with its saliva-based, pooled testing program," said Robbyn Hopewall, Director of Media and Public Relations at Eckerd College. "We have developed a best-in-class testing model that has informed our decision making and allowed us to take swift action when needed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. This flexibility has enabled us to maintain a robust learning environment, inspire confidence in our community, and ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff."
Saliva-based sampling is simple, safe and noninvasive. As detailed in a recently published scientific paper, entitled, "Pooled Surveillance Testing Program for Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infections in K-12 Schools and Universities," SalivaClear has been shown to substantially reduce the cost associated with PCR testing and allow schools to rapidly assess transmission and make data-driven decisions to adjust prevention protocols.
At Eckerd, the college uses an outdoor facility where students, faculty and staff are provided the SalivaClear collection test kits and asked to give a saliva sample. The individual samples are then shipped to Mirimus' lab where they are pooled into groups of 24 and analyzed using the FDA Emergency Use Authorized ThermoFisherScientific TaqPathCOVID-19 Combo RT-PCR Kit. The pooled test results are typically reported to Eckerd within 24 hours of sample receipt at the laboratory. If a pool tests positive, it is split into 12 pools of two, which are re-tested at the laboratory. If a positive signal emerges from a two-sample pool, the two individuals are asked to provide consent for a final test to determine individual positivity.
"We are pleased to be working with Eckerd College to provide a solution to COVID-19 surveillance testing that is effective, efficient and affordable," said Prem Premsrirut, M.D., Ph.D., Co-founder and CEO of Mirimus. "Colleges and universities have, unfortunately, been associated with a substantial number of COVID-19 cases across the country, with a recent report from The New York Times suggesting that more than 120,000 COVID-19 cases have been linked to American colleges and universities since January 1st. Given this, the robust surveillance testing that SalivaClear provides is essential to ensuring a safe on-campus learning environment by enabling campus health administrators to quickly isolate hotspots before they can become outbreaks."
SalivaClear, developed by Mirimus, Inc., is a pioneering COVID-19 testing platform that combines saliva-based sampling, pooled testing and PCR diagnostics to enable high-quality, high-throughput, low-cost detection of SARS-CoV-2. SalivaClear is designed to accomplish what other COVID-19 testing approaches have thus far been unable to achieve – providing a SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic system that can be easily and repeatedly utilized by myriad organizations, from schools to businesses to government organizations, to test (and retest) groups of individuals in order to quickly isolate COVID-19 hotspots before they can become outbreaks. For more information, please visit www.salivaclear.com.
About Mirimus, Inc.
Since its founding 10 years ago, Mirimus, Inc. has established itself as a leader in conducting high-volume, complex and highly effective PCR testing. This unique skillset led Mirimus to develop SalivaClear, a COVID-19 testing platform that combines saliva-based sampling, pooled testing and PCR diagnostics to improve the scalability, efficiency, cost-effectiveness and accuracy of COVID-19 testing. For more information, please visit www.mirimus.com and www.salivaclear.com.
About Eckerd College
Eckerd College invites students to ThinkOutside. Located on 188 acres of waterfront property in St. Petersburg, Florida, Eckerd is a pioneer of innovation—developing programs that have been adopted nationwide and earning the College an international reputation for academic excellence.
A private, coeducational college of liberal arts and sciences related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA), Eckerd College has a diverse student body with 1,800+ students from 48 states and territories and 36 countries and is one of only 40 schools listed in Loren Pope's Colleges That Change Lives. In 2003, Eckerd became one of the youngest colleges to receive a Phi Beta Kappa chapter. In addition, Eckerd's Leadership Development Institute, Academy of Senior Professionals, and offerings through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute identify the College as a national leader in continuing education. Every year (when not in a pandemic), students and faculty travel outside the U.S. to some 40 countries for research and cultural learning. And we venture together in the Eckerd experience to think outside the conventional questions, methods and solutions, seeking to build a better world.
Eckerd College's first priority is to teach students how to learn. And the best education is one that prepares you for the how, as well as the what, an education that teaches you to ThinkOutside.
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SOURCE Mirimus, Inc.
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