BOSTON, June 9, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Ginkgo Bioworks, Inc. ("Ginkgo"), which recently announced a business combination with Soaring Eagle Acquisition Corp. (Nasdaq:SRNG), announced a partnership with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services and the New Hampshire Department of Education to offer pooled SARS-CoV-2 testing throughout the state through Concentric by Ginkgo. New Hampshire was allocated nearly $41 million in federal CDC funds to "detect, diagnose, trace and monitor COVID-19 and prevent its spread" in schools. The Department of Education has confirmed that dozens of schools have already signed up for the state's testing program.
As school districts across the country work hard to reopen and stay open, and vaccination rates increase among young adults and adults, regular testing remains critical for supporting students, teachers and staff working to maintain in-person learning environments. Pooled classroom testing, which combines anterior nasal swab samples from all consenting individuals in a classroom and runs them as a single test, is a simple and scalable way to easily test many people at once while minimizing resource strain.
We believe Concentric by Ginkgo's pooled testing program, which is used by schools in hundreds of communities across the country, including in statewide programs in Massachusetts, Arizona, and Maine, will be straightforward for schools across the state of New Hampshire to implement. Ginkgo will provide all the training and testing materials necessary, as well as staffing, lab, and data processing services. Students, teachers, nurses and school administrators alike have described the testing process as simple and painless. This comprehensive program will include PCR pooled testing, as well as individual molecular or rapid testing for follow-up.
Pooled testing is a strategy that builds on many measures undertaken by school and public health systems, including vaccination, symptom screening, physical distancing and facilities improvements, masks/face coverings, hand hygiene, use of personal protective equipment, and monitoring of return to school after illness.
The goal of Concentric by Ginkgo, the public health and biosecurity effort at Ginkgo, is to provide easy, affordable pooled testing to every school in America. Ginkgo has previously been selected to provide testing within other districts including Massachusetts K-12 schools through a program with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, and Maine public PK-12 schools and private K-12 schools through a program with the Maine Departments of Health and Human Services and Education. Concentric by Ginkgo also provides or will provide testing to programs in Arizona, Baltimore City, Montgomery County in Maryland, Milwaukee, and other cities and districts across the country. Learn more about Concentric by Ginkgo and its ongoing COVID-19 response efforts here.
"Pooled testing is a powerful tool that New Hampshire communities can leverage to give students, teachers and families confidence and data as they operate in-person learning," said Matthew McKnight, Ginkgo Bioworks' Chief Commercial Officer. "We built Concentric because everyone's health is connected, and we're proud to work with districts across New Hampshire to support comprehensive testing within their school communities. Concentric's team is committed to bringing low-cost, widespread testing to states like New Hampshire so that we can advance our goal of quickly and easily testing every student in America, every week."
About Ginkgo Bioworks
Ginkgo is building a platform to enable customers to program cells as easily as we can program computers. The company's platform is enabling biotechnology applications across diverse markets, from food and agriculture to industrial chemicals to pharmaceuticals. Ginkgo is also actively supporting a number of COVID-19 response efforts, including K-12 pooled testing, vaccine manufacturing optimization and therapeutics discovery. For more information, visit www.ginkgobioworks.com.
SOURCE Ginkgo Bioworks