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Oakdale lab testing samples for COVID-19

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Montville — Genesys Diagnostics Inc., an Oakdale company that has been around since 2009, has been approved to test samples for COVID-19.

Connecticut Department of Public Health spokesperson Av Harris confirmed Thursday afternoon that Genesys joins LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics as the private companies the state has approved to conduct coronavirus testing.

Genesys announced on its website that it went live with testing on Tuesday and can process 500 samples a day.

Trinity Health of New England said in a news release on Tuesday that it has partnered with Genesys to conduct COVID-19 testing, noting that the partnership "is expected to optimize and offer efficient testing to our patients." Trinity includes Johnson Memorial Hospital in Stafford Springs, Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital in Hartford, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, and Saint Mary's Hospital in Waterbury.

Dinesh Ahuja, vice president of marketing for Genesys, said the company already had been providing testing services for flu and nasal respiratory issues to physicians in the area, and when the coronavirus popped up, the team sat down to address it.

"This is what the company's supposed to do, to serve humanity," Ahuja said.

He said Genesys developed the test in the lab, and got approval from DPH and the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday. The FDA has an Emergency Use Authorization policy — issued Feb. 29 and updated Monday — "to help accelerate the availability of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) diagnostic tests developed by laboratories and commercial manufacturers during the public health emergency."

Genesys said the coronavirus test is run alongside the NxTAG® Respiratory Pathogen Panel, which can simultaneously detect 22 respiratory pathogens. This is useful, Ahuja indicated, because someone might test negative for COVID-19 but positive for the flu or pneumonia.

Ahuja said that after a hospital sends Genesys a nasal swab, the lab will extract DNA from the sample and take a few hours to run the test. The results then will be put on a portal and sent back to the hospital.

Ahuja said Genesys is being "inundated from the volume" of specimens coming in, so he's telling hospitals the tests are first-come, first-served.

He said Genesys is getting more equipment and hiring more people to meet the company's plan of expanding capacity from 500 to 1,000 samples per day.

e.moser@theday.com

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