FSU, hospital team up on COVID-19 tests

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State University and Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare have agreed to partner on a testing procedure and a lab facility that will allow university students, faculty and staff to receive COVID-19 test results in 24 hours or less.

“The ability to do this testing and quickly get results could be the difference in the ability to open things back up,” FSU Vice President for Research Gary K. Ostrander said in a prepared statement Monday.

The new testing procedure, which received approval for emergency use from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, was developed by Jonathan Dennis, an associate professor in FSU’s Department of Biological Science.

To test human specimens and provide diagnostic results for treatment, entities must have what is known as a CLIA -- or clinical improvement amendment -- certificate. While the university isn’t required to have a CLIA certificate for research, it would be required to have one for testing students. Tallahassee Memorial has a CLIA certificate and agreed to work with the university to provide a testing lab site and lab personnel. The lab ran its first test Aug. 3, based on samples collected from hospital patients and will be able to process 1,000 samples a day when running at full capacity.

Initially, the tests will be available to university students, faculty and staff and hospital patients, but that could change.

“The initial goal of this partnership was to match FSU’s intellectual and technological assets with our commercial and regulatory expertise,” hospital President and CEO Mark O’Bryant said in a prepared statement. “Once we have successfully accomplished that, we plan to work with other community businesses to make testing more readily available.”