Coronavirus: Trump Administration awards $679K to OC company to develop rapid test kits

CYPRESS, Calif. (KABC) -- The Trump Administration is awarding $679,000 to an Orange County company to develop rapid COVID-19 tests that could detect whether a person is positive for the new coronavirus within one hour.

Thousands of test kits for novel coronavirus are on the way, according to the president of DiaSorin Molecular based in Cypress.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human services is awarding DiaSorin Molecular $679,000 to answer the call for more ways to track the spread of COVID-19.

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In Orange County, the public health department reports just more than 1,100 test kits, but those are limited for use on cases meeting CDC requirements.

"I know there's some frustration that the government lab can't test anybody who requests it. We hope that Questlab and Lab Corp and other providers increase their availability," said Richard Sanchez, director of the Orange County Health Care Agency.

The future of testing for COVID-19 is happening in Orange County where lab techs are manufacturing thousands of coronavirus test kits.

About 50,000 of those tests are to be completed by the end of March.

"...And then we're ramping up production to about 300,000 tests per month," said John Gerace, president of DiaSorin Molecular.

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The advantages: a disk holds several samples at once. They can return results in just more than an hour and DiaSorin Molecular already has more than 800 of the instruments used to read the disks in public health departments and hospitals around the globe.

"Personally, it's very rewarding to know that we have such a concern about the number of tests that are available and our company is doing something about it. We're increasing production and making sure that enough tests are adequate, and not just for the U.S. but for the rest the world," Gerace said.
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