A San Dimas biotechnology firm was awarded a $42 million contract by the Department of Defense Friday to provide 250,000 coronavirus oral fluid swab test kits to military treatment facilities.
The contract with Curative Inc. also provides for end-to-end testing operations, including testing at its high throughput lab, laboratory validation studies, personnel training, custom software integrations with electronic health records, shipping and test results.
“This is an important capability that will strengthen our medical professionals’ ability to detect, isolate and defeat the spread of COVID-19 across the military,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Lee Payne, the DOD’s COVID-19 Lab Testing Task Force lead.
“The ability to reliably test service members and their families is critical towards securing our forces’ health and readiness.”
Under the contract, test kits and associated support will be provided to more than 100 military treatment facilities across the DOD in a manner that addresses medically urgent and emergent needs.
Curative’s oral fluid sample collection method is less invasive than other methods of COVID-19 testing, which require the insertion of a cotton swab far into the nasal passage.
The test is also self-administered, meaning health care workers observe and guide patients through the sample collection process from a distance which significantly decreases both the demand placed on frontline staff and the need for frequent changing of personal protective equipment.
To collect a sample for testing, the patient is first instructed to cough three times, releasing particles from the upper and lower respiratory tract into the patient’s saliva.
The patient then swabs the inside of the mouth and seals the swab in a secure container for laboratory processing. Results are made available to patients via an electronic medical record within two-to-three days.
The contract follows a demonstration of Curative’s testing method at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia, where approximately 7,800 joint active duty personnel were tested over a three-day period in June.
Curative conducts Los Angeles’ drive-through coronavirus testing.
Funding for the contract comes from the coronavirus aid bill.
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