Grand Rapids genetic testing company’s partnership offers pooled COVID-19 testing for public schools

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NxGen MDx of Grand Rapids announced a partnership with Boston-based Concentric by Ginkgo to provide COVID-19 testing to congregate settings like schools operating in-person or hybrid learning environments using a scalable and simple testing modality — pooled testing.

As more schools begin to support in-person learning environments, communities across the country have turned to routine COVID-19 testing to monitor the spread of the virus. NxGen MDx, which specializes in genetic testing, said even as teachers and guardians become eligible for vaccines, clinical vaccine trials for individuals under 16 are just beginning, and efforts to track and mitigate viral spread remain critical.

Concentric by Ginkgo said its goal is to provide easy, affordable pooled testing to every school in America. 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. In partnership with labs like NxGen MDx, Concentric by Ginkgo currently operates testing for hundreds of schools across the U.S.

“It’s our mission to ensure that cost and lack of access are never a factor when it comes to COVID-19 testing,” said Alan Mack, CEO of NxGen MDx. “That’s why it made perfect sense to partner with Ginkgo.”

“As communities consider the many COVID-19 testing models available, pooled testing stands out as an affordable option to identify pockets of prevalence as schools look to reopen,” said Jason Kelly, CEO and co-founder of Ginkgo Bioworks. “We started Concentric because everyone’s health is connected, and giving schools the capacity to test every student, every week provides the critical information and confidence communities need.”

School districts can learn more about how to get involved at Concentric’s website.

NxGen MDx LLC is a women’s health company specializing in genetic testing for families as they plan for the future. NxGen MDx employs state-of-the-art technology, including rapid molecular diagnostics for infectious disease and genetic screening technology that examines the entire gene rather than parts of the gene, giving women and families a comprehensive assessment of their health.

Concentric by Ginkgo is Ginkgo Bioworks’ public health and biosecurity effort. The company’s cell programming platform is enabling the growth of biotechnology across diverse markets, including food, fragrance and pharmaceuticals.

Ginkgo also supports a number of COVID-19 response efforts, including community testing, epidemiological tracing, vaccine development and therapeutics discovery.

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