Biotech manufacturer and supplier New England Biolabs (NEB), Ipswich, Mass, and San Francisco-based Color have partnered to provide weekly covid-19 testing to NEB’s US-based employees. This partnership enables NEB employees to continue their essential role in manufacturing critical materials necessary for the development of covid-19 diagnostic tests and vaccines.
NEB supplies enzymes used in scientific research and development at universities, academic medical centers, biotech, diagnostic, and pharmaceutical companies. Many NEB products are currently used in laboratories researching the SARS-CoV-2 virus by scientists developing and performing covid-19 diagnostic tests and by researchers working on vaccines.
“Our number one priority is to ensure the safety of our staff and our business continuity,” says Jim Ellard, CEO of New England Biolabs. “Color’s testing program helps us protect our employees, ensuring our ability to meet the high demand for enzymes necessary for basic research, cutting-edge discoveries, and, ultimately, the diagnostics and vaccines that will stop the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”
During the pandemic, demand for NEB products has increased, and the company has added new infrastructure and hired new people to meet this demand. To keep employees safe while growing, NEB has implemented a comprehensive mitigation strategy to prevent an outbreak that includes wearing masks, social distancing, carefully scheduling shifts, enabling remote work, and weekly covid-19 tests, provided by Color. Since September, over 400 employees have submitted test samples, initially bi-weekly and now weekly, through Color’s platform.
Color’s platform, which uses NEB’s Colorimetric LAMP reagents, makes it easy for NEB to provide fast, accurate testing to all employees who work at NEB’s headquarters. Employees use Color’s testing kit to self-collect samples, which are then dropped off in a designated location. The kits are mailed to Color’s lab and 97% of test results are returned within 24 hours, with a median turnaround time of 11 hours.
“We have found a partner in New England Biolabs who shares our mission to improve public health,” says Color CEO Othman Laraki. “Both biotech research and improved access to testing will help us win the fight against covid-19. We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with NEB and support employees to continue their important work.”
Since April, Color has become a leader in responding to the covid-19 pandemic, working with states, cities, universities, and employers to increase access to fast, convenient, and reliable testing. To date, Color has returned more than 2 million covid-19 test results to partners across the nation, including state and local governments, universities, and businesses.
Featured image: New England Biolabs SARS-CoV-2 Kit positive and negative examples. (Courtesy: New England Biolabs)