Cleveland lab, Ohio strike deal to boost coronavirus testing across state

Ohio

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Gov. Mike DeWine announced two Ohio companies will produce more swabs and reagent that will boost the state’s COVID-19 testing capability in just a matter of weeks while giving the state a stable supply chain of testing ingredients.

On Friday, the governor said ROE Dental will produce up to 1 million swabs to help boost testing in the state.

Earlier this week, DeWine announced U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of a new reagent – the “secret sauce” of the COVID-19 tests – from Thermal Fisher. Friday, DeWine said the testing strike team of former governors Celeste and Taft “had a major breakthrough working with Thermo Fisher that will substantially expand our testing capacity in Ohio,” and after their work, he spoke directly with their CEO, and Ohio now has an agreement with Thermo Fisher.

ROE Dental normally produces dental restoration such as crowns and dentures as well as dental surgical guides, but DeWine said the company is switching gears, bringing in an additional 36 3-D printers, nearly doubling its number of printers.

ROE will also bring 100 employees back to produce the swabs around the clock.

Starting this Wednesday, April 29, testing will be at least 7,200 tests per day, DeWine said. By May 6, that number will be 15,000 per day; by May 13m 18,800 per day; and by May 27, 22,000 per day.

Formlabs in Toledo provided ROE with the swab manufacturing specifications, DeWine said.

“Public-private partnerships like this represent how, here in Ohio, we are, in fact, all in this together,” DeWine said. “We believe these efforts will not only increase our capacity to test by the end of May, but they will supply us with a stable supply chain.”

DeWine said during Friday’s briefing that the two components that were holding back increased testing in Ohio were a lack of reagent and a lack of swabs. The governor says the stable supply chain will allow the state to drastically increase testing in priority areas.

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