COVID-19 Testing Now at BRF
Lack of testing still remains a key issue in the battle to contain COVID-19. The Bedford Research Foundation is proud to announce that we’ve expanded our non-profit laboratory services to offer fast and accurate COVID-19 testing in Massachusetts.
BRF laboratory technicians are now working long, rotating shifts to test hundreds of samples each week and ensure that results are available within 24 hours of the sample arriving at the lab. As of April 8th, we’ve tested 460 specimens with 79 testing positive (state report).
BRF is now one of just 66 organizations on the FDA site with an approved test for COVID-19 in the United States. (see the list)
The Next Three Months
Because of your past support, BRF was ready and able to respond to this crisis. Your donations have allowed us to grow as a nimble, independent and mission-driven laboratory. We need your support now to help us maintain our high-level of COVID-19 testing.
The next three months are a critical time for COVID-19 testing in the US. Three months is the window estimated by most experts for large laboratories to be able to get up to speed and handle the demand for testing. This is the critical window that we are aiming to help fill and we need your help to do it.
The state is providing partial-funding to cover the cost of our testing materials and some staff time, but this does not cover of all of our expenses or the investment needed to expand our operations during this crisis.
Please consider a donation today! Your donation is tax-deductible in accordance to state and federal laws.
Up and Running in Under Two Weeks with the FDA Emergency Guidelines
As soon as BRF Director, Dr. Ann Kiessling, read the news about the first positive COVID-19 test in Washington, she immediately contacted the CDC to find out how BRF could help.
Dr. Kiessling understood the far-reaching implications of that positive test because she has been studying and developing tests for infectious diseases for over 40 years. She was one of the first scientists studying the transmission of HIV in the 1980s. As she puts it, “This is not my first pandemic.”
After reviewing the FDA emergency guidelines, Dr. Kiessling put her experience to work and developed a highly-sensitive PCR test for COVID-19. She then reached out to State Representative Ken Gordon for assistance getting connected to local medical centers in need.
“Ann came to me as this outbreak was just beginning. She’s a respected and conscientious HIV researcher, and she explained how she could adapt her experience to focus on this novel virus. There’s no doubt we need more testing in Massachusetts, and the greater access to reliable labs, especially Massachusetts labs, the better. I explained to Secretary Sudders that if Dr. Kiessling says she can do this, then she can. I’m glad the connection was quickly formed.”
– Ken Gordon, Massachusetts Representative
Our Unique Test
BRF is using a test platform that we helped develop decades ago for HIV testing. A major advantage of this platform is our unique transport system that deactivates the SARS2 virus (COVID-19) on contact.
The fluid in the Bedford Research transport tubes is guanidium-based which inactivates the virus as soon as the swab is placed in the transport tube. It also stabilizes the viral genes for easier detection. This not only provides extra safety to our laboratory staff, but also extra safety during specimen transport.
More About Our Work
Bedford Research Foundation’s mission is to accelerate solutions for understudied health problems affecting millions of people. Our current focus is on four areas of underfunded research: HIV/AIDS Cure and Prevention, Spinal Cord Injury, Diseases of the Prostate, and Stem cells from Parthenotes (unfertilized human eggs). Learn more.
BRF’s ground-breaking Special Program of Assisted Reproduction has helped hundreds of HIV+ men father children safely by providing testing services, partnering with clinics and giving access to education. Learn more.