NEW YORK – The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Biohub said on Tuesday they are working with the University of California, San Francisco and Stanford University to increase the Bay Area's novel coronavirus testing capacity by investing in molecular diagnostic platforms from GenMark Diagnostics.
The organizations have formed a so-called COVID-19 task force to invest in two GenMark ePlex sample-to-answer molecular diagnostic platforms, one for a CLIA lab at the UCSF Helen Diller Medical Center in Parnassus Heights and one for a CLIA lab at UCSF's Primary Care clinic in China Basin, according to a CZI spokesperson.
The ePlex instrument and an associated test for SARS-COV2, the virus that causes the coronavirus disease COVID-19, are currently being evaluated by the US Food and Drug Administration for Emergency Use Authorization. CZI said the instruments are currently being installed and validated at UCSF in anticipation of an FDA EUA.
The CZI spokesperson did not disclose the total investment being made by task force, but noted that it is at least $360,000, enough to cover the costs of two GenMark platforms. These machines will allow the UCSF sites to potentially quadruple their current ability to test and diagnose new Bay Area COVID-19 cases, CZI said in a statement.
The task force is also helping to address Bay Area testing shortages by connecting groups at UCSF and Stanford, so that UCSF test requests can now be handled at Stanford when UCSF's internal capacity is exceeded and city laboratories are backlogged, CZI said.