New York-based TNG Dx announced a public health surveillance initiative with the United States Department of Health and Human Services and eTrueNorth, Mansfield, Texas, to develop a rapid RNA extraction protocol. This protocol can assist clinical laboratories with faster turnaround times for covid-19 test results, increasing the number of individuals who can be tested as part of community-based surveillance.

“The goal of this protocol is to develop a method to increase testing throughput for all open-platform qPCR machines with more comfortable, less invasive specimen collection that can be conducted by the patients themselves without medical personnel,” says Meghan Lockard, PhD, chief scientific advisor to TNG Dx. “The protocol uses materials readily available in standard high and moderate complexity clinical laboratories. TNG Dx hopes that the universality of this protocol will facilitate rapid adoption in labs across the US.”

“This new RNA extraction methodology holds promise to have an overall positive effect on the way clinical laboratories process covid-19 samples before analysis,” says Deputy Surgeon General, RADM Erica Schwartz, HHS. “From a public health perspective, we welcome opportunities to improve the covid-19 testing process.”

TNG Dx collected over 500 paired saliva samples using anterior nasal sampling at the Harris County testing site outside Houston, Texas. This collection was conducted in collaboration with eTrueNorth, the laboratory services company contracted by HHS to process covid-19 RT-PCR tests.

Coral May, CEO of eTrueNorth, says, “eTrueNorth is happy to partner with other experts to improve any step in the covid-19 testing process. We want to work with others in any way to reduce the time and effort it takes clinical laboratories to analysis specimens.”

TNG Dx has contracted Premier Medical Laboratory Services in Greenville, SC to perform the clinical and analytical validation studies. TNG Dx expect to have the protocol submitted to the FDA for emergency use authorization by the end of the year.

For more information, visit TNG Dx