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24
Sep-2020

Bay Area Health Trust working with McMaster University to Increase Covid-19 Testing Capacity

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Bay Area Health Trust (www.bayareahealthtrust.com), a Hamilton, Ontario based company today announced an exclusive licensing agreement for the ‘McMaster Molecular Medium (“MMM”) with McMaster University. Developed by researchers from St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton‘s Disease Diagnostics and Development Group, MMM will enable labs to safely increase their COVID testing capacity and therefore return results faster.

In anticipation of global shortages of nasal swabs and other virus testing supplies, including transport media that preserve the integrity of collected samples, Dr. David Bulir, a researcher from McMaster University and The Research Institute of St. Joe’s Hamilton recognized the need for a better way.

“We saw very early that control and containment of this pandemic would need vastly increased testing capacity, and the ability to leverage partners within our community has been critical to getting this technology into the hands of both public health as well as private organizations.” said Dr. Gail Martin, Executive Director of The Research Institute of St. Joe’s Hamilton.

MMM is a temperature-stable storage medium that can maintain coronavirus specimens for up to 14 days, significantly longer than standard transport media. MMM inactivates – kills – the virus so it cannot replicate and potentially infect a lab technician. The genetic material is kept stabilized and ready for testing.

Another key benefit of using MMM is the ability to pool specimens. Specimen pooling can enable labs to significantly increase their testing capacity. Since most tests produce negative results, only pools that come back with positive results will need to be further tested.

“This agreement is a testament to the value that Bay Area Health Trust and our operating units like Bay Area Research Logistics can bring to its beneficiaries and the growing Hamilton health care ecosystem.” said Peter Kalra, President and CEO of Bay Area Health Trust.

“When all parties share in a common goal, especially one as important as this, then everyone benefits. MILO is pleased to work with organizations such as Bay Area Health Trust, who have the capability and expertise to support further development and bring these discoveries to market so quickly on a national and global scale.” Said Gay Yuyitung, Executive Director at McMaster’s Industry Liaison Office.

Bay Area Health Trust has been working with The Research Institute of St. Joe’s Hamilton and McMaster University to build up Ontario’s testing supplies and the lab’s capacity to perform rapid testing as the regions begin to remove restrictions and we prepare for a potential second wave.

Read full Financial Post article here

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