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Lilly partners with Indiana State Health Department for coronavirus testing

Experts maintain that testing can curb the outbreak

Lilly

Indianapolis, US-based Eli Lilly has partnered with the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) to accelerate coronavirus testing as cases steadily climb.

Lilly’s scientists will support the US Food Drug Administration (FDA) and the ISDH by facilitating testing for SARS-CoV-2 – the novel coronavirus which causes COVID-19 – at Lilly’s research laboratories.

Lilly will take samples from Indiana healthcare facilities – including nursing homes and emergency rooms – for analysis at its specialised research labs.

The company aims to expand the state’s ability to conduct testing and turnaround results within a quick timeframe, so that individuals can be diagnosed promptly and treated accordingly.

Lilly’s capacity for expanding testing is based on its abilities to continuously access the required diagnostic materials, which it appears to be confident in.

“Lilly's scientists have been working day and night for several weeks to implement and validate this testing approach, and access or produce the chemical reagents that are in short supply across the country,” said Daniel Skovronsky, chief scientific officer of Lilly and president of Lilly Research Laboratories.

“Lilly's lab meets the required certifications to conduct testing, and we're optimistic in our ability to help accelerate testing,” he added.

In addition to testing within the lab setting, Lilly is piloting ‘drive through testing’, which could eventually facilitate the testing of patients outside the healthcare setting to curb the spread of the virus in the community.

Crucially, the company has said it will not accept money from government agencies, hospitals, insurance companies or patients for conducting or analysing tests.

“This is one contribution we can make to help slow the spread of coronavirus in our community, and this testing will be entirely free,” said Ricks.

The US government has come under criticism for its COVID-19 testing strategy, with many citing the lack of clarity around pricing for tests as helping the spread of the virus across the country.

Experts have maintained that testing all possible cases of coronavirus is the best weapon in the fight against the COVID-19.

In fact, scientists have cited mass testing in the small Italian town of Vò halted an outbreak there, while other parts of northern Italy grappled with thousands of cases.

The scientific study in Vò, undertaken by the University of Padua with help from the Veneto Region and the Red Cross, tested all inhabitants of the town, which led to the discovery that the virus spreads even between asymptomatic people.

When testing began there were 90 confirmed cases in the town, but there have been no new cases for a number of days. Meanwhile, the rest of Italy continues to report growing numbers of coronavirus infections.

“The percentage of infected people, even if asymptomatic, in the population is very high,” said Sergio Romagnani, professor of clinical immunology at the University of Florence, according to The Guardian.

“The isolation of asymptomatics is essential to be able to control the spread of the virus and the severity of the disease,” he added.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

19th March 2020

From: Research

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