University, NCCo partner on COVID-19 testing lab
New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer announced today that Delaware’s northernmost county has joined with Delaware State University to use $5 million in CARES Act funding to establish a COVID-19 testing lab facility at the University’s Kirkwood Highway site.
The establishment of the planned Kirkwood Highway lab will provide less expensive, higher capacity testing capabilities in New Castle County – which has the highest COVID-19 positivity of the state’s three counties.
The critical investment in the lab will establish a high-throughput diagnostic facility for inexpensive COVID-19 testing in the short-term. The lab’s capabilities can later be adapted to conduct a host of different diagnostic testing for vendors such as Christiana Care, New Castle County, and others in the long-term.
The new lab will also create 6-10 biosciences jobs now and in the future. The lab will begin processing COVID-19 tests next month, and full ramp-up is expected to take between 12-15 months.
“We work every day to increase COVID-19 testing capacity, to process tests more efficiently, to get a better deal for taxpayers and to enhance the capabilities of local universities,” said County Executive Meyer. “We formed this partnership to address all four of those goals.”
“The potential of this partnership cannot be overstated,” said Del State President Tony Allen. “A sequencing center allows us to provide reliable, frequent COVID testing at a time when it could not be more important.”
Dr. Allen added that the partnership also opens enormous opportunities to help battle other infectious diseases.
“To have the center at our Kirkwood Highway site is indicative of our strong relationship with New Castle County and deepens our commitment to being Delaware’s State University,” Dr. Allen said.
Dr. Derrick Scott, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences and the Director of Bioinformatics, has been enlisted in the project to provide guidance in the lab layout at the Kirkwood Highway facility and for the acquisition of the required certification – a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment – from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.