FERNDALE—Officials at Olive Labs Inc. announced a partnership with Concentric, a COVID-19 testing division of Boston-based Gingko Bioworks, to provide rapid testing for schools.
Olive Labs Inc. is a women- and minority-owned, federally certified clinical laboratory in Ferndale that serves businesses, long-term care facilities and individuals to provide accurate, 24-hour-turnaround COVID-19 testing. Concentric by Ginkgo is the public health and biosecurity effort at Ginkgo Bioworks, that provides easy, affordable pooled testing to every school in America. Concentric currently runs testing in over 15 states, with over 800 schools signed up for testing.
Pooled classroom testing, which combines swabs from all consenting individuals in a classroom and runs them as a single test, can significantly increase testing capacity and lower the cost of testing programs. As more and more schools work to support in-person learning environments, communities across the country have turned to routine COVID-19 testing to monitor the virus. In recent days, the Biden Administration has announced billions of dollars of funding to support this testing, which can help interrupt potential chains of transmission and provide confidence to students, teachers, staff, and school communities.
“Right now there is a lot of uncertainty for children,” said Olive Labs founder and CEO Heather Heine. “Having them participate in this simple pooled testing process, whereby they swab themselves inside their lower nostrils with teacher supervision, gives them a sense of empowerment and engages them in the science that’s involved. Every child now has a chance to be part of the solution. For the past year, millions of parents and teachers have been struggling. Children being unable to attend school has affected young people’s mental health and scholastic progress. It also affects family economics: if a class is shut down, then parents can’t go to work. We cannot afford to have kids out of school much longer. It is time for us to take action with large-scale routine testing and help get our kids back into school as soon as possible.”
Olive Labs is committed to high-quality PCR testing, which is generally considered the most accurate form of COVID-19 testing available. Olive Labs also distinguishes itself with 24-hour turnaround times, unusual in the laboratory industry. The laboratory has helped thousands of individuals receive prompt, reliable COVID-19 test results throughout the pandemic. Olive Labs has also scaled its testing equipment and has the capacity to potentially test all the schools in the state.