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OU partners with Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation to improve COVID-19 testing speed, accuracy

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OU’s decision to partner with a nonprofit biomedical research institution has led to new discoveries in Oklahoma’s COVID-19 testing. 

According to a press release, an Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation scientist, Joel Guthridge, reached out to Dr. Michael Talbert, an OU College of Medicine professor and pathology department chair, to help meet the need for more COVID-19 testing. Together they used a machine called a Fluidigm Biomark to gather data from sample materials to detect small amounts of the virus. 

This piece of equipment allowed them to process multiple samples at once, leading to many more results than a standard test, according to the release. As the cases in Oklahoma rose, “the group felt increasing pressure to get the lab up and running,” according to a press release. They filed their final application with the FDA in June to launch the new test. 

Each test is run five times to ensure accuracy, picking up on infections other tests can miss. Unlike many other testing processes that took a week or more to receive results, the new test typically reports results the same day or the following day, according to the press release.  

According to the release, the team continues to work on ways to increase their testing capability while also looking into how to do saliva sample tests. 

Although this partnership was formed due to a national crisis, Talbert said in the release this partnership has done many things to help improve testing in Oklahoma.  

“We shared a single goal: To help Oklahomans in an unprecedented time of medical need,” Talbert said in the release.

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