May 12, 2020
JAX to provide widescale COVID-19 testing in Connecticut
Scientist working in a laboratory at The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine. JAX photo by Tiffany Laufer.
The Jackson Laboratory (JAX),
in partnership with the State of Connecticut, announced today that it is
expanding its COVID-19 testing capacity from 550 tests per day to 20,000
tests per day, between now and early July, for Connecticut residents.
This increased capacity builds upon the Laboratory’s ongoing COVID-19
testing collaborations with the Connecticut Department of Public Health and
more than 30 Connecticut-based hospitals and health care facilities. In
addition to continuing to run tests for symptomatic patients and health
care providers, JAX will now provide testing that will enable hospitals to
resume surgeries and procedures that have been postponed, and additional
testing to support Governor Lamont’s reopening strategy.
“The Jackson Laboratory stepped up from the beginning to assist our state
with testing capacity and we are incredibly fortunate to have such a great
partner with our state. This latest partnership will increase testing
capacity, providing greater access to impacted communities where we need to
be targeting our efforts,” said Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont.
The first phase of this new testing capacity will focus on key cohorts of at-risk and vulnerable populations in Connecticut, including nursing home residents, patients whose surgeries have been placed on hold, first responders, State and municipal employees, and urban high-risk and low-income groups.
“The Jackson Laboratory is committed to helping resolve the coronavirus
outbreak as rapidly as possible. Our expertise in human genomics and
mammalian genetics positions us to partner with other experts in
infrastructure, academia, business, and government to quickly deal with the
evolving public health crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Edison Liu, M.D.Conducts research focused on the functional genomics of breast cancer through an exploration of the entire genomic space.Edison T. Liu, M.D.
president and CEO of The Jackson Laboratory. “We are immensely proud to
provide this critical expanded testing for the State of Connecticut. This
is in direct alignment with the Laboratory’s nonprofit humanitarian mission
and we consider it our duty as a member of the Connecticut community to
contribute in this time of need.”
JAX’s Connecticut-licensed CLIA (Clinical Laboratory Improvement
Amendments) and CAP-accredited laboratory in Farmington, Connecticut tests
patient specimens for specific RNA signatures unique to SARS-CoV-2, the
virus that causes COVID-19.
“We were extremely pleased to be able to mobilize our CLIA lab to conduct
COVID-19 testing in mid-March. Now, because of our partnership with the
State of Connecticut, we have the unique opportunity to dramatically
increase our testing capacity while ensuring continued 24-hour turnaround
time in order to help the State of Connecticut’s most vulnerable
populations, ” said Auro Nair, Ph.D.Responsible for all clinical and scientific research products & services provided to internal researchers at The Jackson Laboratory and external researchers worldwide.Auro Nair, Ph.D.
executive vice president of The Jackson Laboratory and president of JAX®
Mice, Clinical and Research Services.
JAX had established its CLIA-certified lab
to translate future discoveries in genomic medicine, such as novel
biomarkers for cancer, into new tests. To reach the volume testing capacity
of 20,000 samples per day, the Laboratory will leverage the commitment and
expertise of JAX senior leadership and current CLIA Laboratory personnel,
the addition of automated equipment, and trained technicians, and by
leveraging its strong supplier relationships.
The nonprofit’s ability to meet Connecticut’s testing needs includes a
valuable partnership with UConn Health’s leadership and IT teams, who have
provided tremendous support in integrating health records with other
institutions using their Epic system.
JAX began COVID-19 testing
on March 24 and currently has the capacity to test 3,500 samples per week.
The Laboratory also recently announced
a collaboration with the Town of West Hartford
to analyze COVID-19 tests from the town’s first responders.
Individuals seeking to be tested for COVID-19 should not call or come directly to The Jackson Laboratory and should call their doctor’s office or local hospital or healthcare facility for guidance.