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George Washington University Launches Rapid COVID-19 Test for Students

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To keep its campus healthy, George Washington University (GW) has released a highly accurate coronavirus test that returns results within two days.

The test, developed by the university, will be available to all members of the community and conducted by a new GW laboratory by spring 2021 if the campus is able to fully re-open by then. It is free for on-campus students, faculty, and staff.

The test uses a unique “polymerase chain reaction” technique to detect genetic material from the virus that causes the infectious disease and provides highly accurate results, according to a statement issued by the university.

“GW’s novel system, including an on-campus laboratory, means the tests are processed six days a week and results are sent back within 24 to 48 hours,” said Cindy Liu, the GW researcher whose team developed the test and set up the new lab. “The GW laboratory is now processing more than 600 tests per day with the capacity to ramp up significantly.”

Testing at George Washington University

The university has conducted over 7,000 tests so far. In addition, GW developed a COVID-19 testing dashboard that shows daily updates of the testing and results.

“Given [the] spread of COVID-19 by people who have few to no symptoms, and the difficulty in accessing testing from private labs, GW concluded in April that we should develop our own testing capacity,” said Lynn R. Goldman, the Michael and Lori Milken Dean of the GW Milken Institute School of Public Health. “GW’s faculty and staff worked round the clock to create an automated high-capacity COVID-19 diagnostic test, obtain regulatory approvals, build the new laboratory and set up testing sites on campus.”

“With this investment in on-campus testing, GW can now provide an extra layer of protection to keep students, faculty and staff healthy and safe,” she added.

The university is offering a majority of classes virtually for the fall semester. However, a number of laboratory, arts, and clinical training courses are held on campus.

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