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Upstate Medical University to build COVID-19 testing lab at University at Buffalo

By Eric Reinhardt (ereinhardt@cnybj.com)

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Upstate Medical University will build a new COVID-19 testing lab at the University at Buffalo to increase capacity and speed up analysis of Upstate’s COVID-19 saliva test. SUNY is spending $120,000 on equipment. Upstate Medical is partnering with Quadrant Biosciences, a molecular diagnostics company, which will provide additional funding, SUNY said. (Eric Reinhardt / CNYBJ file photo)

AMHERST, N.Y. — Upstate Medical University will construct a new laboratory at the University at Buffalo (UB) to increase capacity and speed up analysis of Upstate’s COVID-19 saliva test.

SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras recently increased testing frequency of all students, faculty, and staff on campus to at least once a week.

SUNY is investing $120,000 in the expansion by purchasing the equipment to process Upstate Medical’s COVID-19 test at the new lab. Upstate Medical is partnering with Quadrant Biosciences, a molecular diagnostics company, which will provide additional funding, SUNY said.

The new Upstate Medical-Quadrant Biosciences lab at UB will be able to process 150,000 tests a week, increasing the total testing to 350,000 tests per week across SUNY, with results available to campuses within 24 hours.

The lab will be operational by March 1.

Quadrant Biosciences will staff the UB laboratory in partnership with SUNY faculty and student medical-research teams, as the site will handle weekly saliva testing for all SUNY campuses in Western New York.

Upstate Medical and Quadrant Biosciences co-developed the Clarifi COVID-19 test, “the world’s number one ranked” saliva test according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The test is accurate for detection of all common strains of the virus, including the United Kingdom variant that has been found in New York and more than half of the states.

The test also detects asymptomatic cases, which is “crucial” for SUNY campuses to safely reopen in the spring, SUNY said. FDA approval of Upstate’s saliva test allows for the use of additional laboratories for testing analysis.

Malatras announced the partnership and equipment purchase Sunday during a visit to the University at Buffalo, where he met with officials who included Dr. Mantosh Dewan, president of Upstate Medical University.

All students returning to campus are required to test negative for COVID-19 “immediately prior to or upon return to campus.” Students, faculty, and staff will be tested weekly throughout the semester primarily using Upstate’s saliva test to identify any new cases. Students testing positive may quarantine on campus housing or at their residence for the semester, if living off-campus.

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