NEW YORK, June 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Rover Labs, a diagnostics technology leader in end-to-end saliva testing, is providing saliva-based COVID-19 testing to approximately 50 New York City public schools during a two-month pilot program that began on June 1 using technology developed by Fluidigm Corporation (Nasdaq:FLDM).
New York City public schools have instituted mandatory random weekly testing in all reopened school buildings to ensure safer in-person learning. Through a new pilot program, Rover Labs is testing students and staff in New York City public schools from all five boroughs with a saliva-based test that is turnkey, cost-effective, highly sensitive and seamless to implement.
A growing body of peer-reviewed research is confirming that the accuracy of saliva-based COVID-19 testing is comparable to that of the PCR nasopharyngeal-based (nasal swab) testing that we've become accustomed to. A systematic review and meta-analysis published in JAMA Internal Medicine in January 2021 stated that saliva-based tests have a similar sensitivity and specificity and present an attractive alternative to invasive nasal testing. Adding to this evidence, NYC Health + Hospitals participated in a large concordance study in December 2020 in which the Fluidigm® saliva assay compared favorably with a gold-standard anterior nares swab test on 460 patients.
Rover Labs' non-invasive saliva-based testing service enables scalable, simple high-volume sample collection providing a less expensive and more comfortable experience than traditional nasal swabs. Test recipients in a pilot program provide their saliva samples through a simple self-collection process overseen by school nurses. Samples from students, teachers and staff are picked up by Rover Labs and delivered to their partner lab in Eatontown, NJ, for processing. Rover Labs' first round of testing began on June 1 and will continue through the end of the school year and into summer programming.
"The saliva COVID testing pilot in the NYC DOE is an important continuation of Rover's mission to improve the comfort and convenience of testing for both kids and adults, as well as to reduce the cost and complexity of gathering samples," said Mark Fasciano, Rover Labs CEO.
Using Rover CloudLIS, an integrated cloud-based lab information system, Rover Labs handles the entire testing workflow from test kit provisioning through test registration and automatic reporting, allowing for fast and confidential reporting of the results.
"We are very excited to be part of the solution to getting kids back into schools safely and giving parents and teachers peace of mind," said Fasciano. "The ability for schools to test for COVID-19 simply and seamlessly so that infection can be identified early to keep the student and teacher population safe is essential."
"Fluidigm is grateful for the opportunity to provide Rover Labs with the technology to enable simple, affordable and accessible testing that can help keep staff and students healthy," said Chris Linthwaite, Fluidigm President and CEO. "Collaborations with many labs and educational institutions are based upon our test, which offers a sample type that is easier to collect than invasive swabs, and that individuals often prefer from a comfort perspective."
"Implementing Fluidigm technology, we have developed a streamlined, end-to-end testing process that reduces the cost and labor for COVID testing," said Sam Sia, Professor, Columbia University Department of Bioengineering and a Rover Labs co-founder. "As the world slowly recovers from the pandemic, ongoing testing must be fast and convenient, and not an unpleasant distraction from everyday life."
About Rover Labs Rover Labs supplies COVID saliva testing with Fluidigm® technology to the NY-metro area and beyond. With a focus on school testing, back-to-work, and large, private-group gatherings, Rover Labs provides a timely, cost-effective end-to-end testing solution with simple and scalable test provisioning, registration, and results reporting through its cloud-based LIS system, Rover CloudLIS. Rover also provides CloudLIS to third party labs and diagnostic system manufacturers. Rover Labs has a strategic partnership with Rover Diagnostics, a spin-out of Columbia University, which was included in the NIH RADx program in 2020.