SummerBio, a pandemic preparedness and response company that provides high-volume, fast turnaround PCR testing for COVID, will be transitioning to standby-mode at the end of the August due to a dramatic reduction in the demand for COVID lab-based PCR testing.
Since the start of the pandemic, SummerBio has provided fast turnaround and affordable COVID-19 PCR testing. To date, the company has processed nearly 20 million samples with 95% of results reported in less than 24 hours.
“SummerBio was created in response to the pandemic and the lack of available testing. With a mission of providing high-volume, low-cost, automated PCR testing, we were able to quickly roll out surveillance testing programs allowing schools and businesses to reopen safely,” says Dave Scheinman, co-founder and president of SummerBio. “Our team accomplished the unthinkable by swiftly responding to public health needs and becoming the highest volume PCR lab with nearly all tests processed in under 24 hours – even during times of surge and new variants.”
The lab will transition from active operations to a standby state. The company’s robotic instruments, specifically engineered for high volume and fast turnaround PCR testing, will be placed in a holding cell where they can be quickly activated to bring up to 180,000 tests per day of capacity in the event of another COVID surge or future pandemic.
“As we move into a new phase of this pandemic where COVID is causing far fewer hospitalizations and deaths, the demand for PCR testing has shifted. Public health authorities are moving away from large-scale PCR screening programs and asking individuals to access testing through their healthcare providers or by using home-based antigen tests,” says Sasha Seletsky, co-founder and chief business officer. “While home-based antigen tests are often considered to be lower cost, SummerBio’s operations have demonstrated that lab-based PCR testing can be rapidly scalable, with fast turnaround of results, and at a comparable price.”
SummerBio’s lab is CLIA certified and California Department of Public Health approved.
“SummerBio has provided a blueprint for how to modernize public health infrastructure and rapidly meet public health needs with the necessary testing infrastructure,” says Julie Gerberding, MD, MPH, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and SummerBio Board Member. “The pandemic is still a reality and maintaining efficient, high volume, and low-cost testing capacity should be a federal priority. I am optimistic federal and state governments will see the value and continue to invest in the necessary infrastructure as part of ongoing pandemic preparedness. SummerBio will be ready when this happens.”