Eli Lilly Partners with State of Indiana to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing

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As the number of diagnosed cases of COVID-19 continues to rise in the United States, Eli Lilly has partnered with the Indiana State Department of Health to accelerate testing for the virus in that state.

Indiana has not yet been as hard hit by diagnoses of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, but that’s not stopping the state from pairing up with its hometown pharma giant. According to the Indianapolis Star, there have been 56 diagnosed cases of the virus in Indiana as of Thursday, a spike of 17 new cases from the previous day.

David A. Ricks, chairman and chief executive officer of Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly, said the company was “bringing the full force of its scientific and medical expertise” to address COVID-19, which was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization last week.

“For more than 140 years Lilly has played a leading role in solving problems in our Indiana home. Today we are marshaling our people and our assets to confront and defeat the novel coronavirus in our state,” Ricks said in a statement.

Lilly will use its specialized research laboratories to analyze samples taken in Indiana healthcare facilities, including nursing homes and emergency rooms. Lilly believes that having continuous access to these samples will allow it to boost the ability of the state to test patients and provide timely diagnoses of those who believe they may have the virus. Lilly said as its testing capacity expands, it will continue to work with Indiana’s department of health to “maximize” the impact of broader testing. In addition, Lilly is piloting drive through testing that may eventually be able to test patients outside of a healthcare facility to avoid the spread of the virus. The company said it hopes to have additional details in the coming days.

Lilly will not accept money from government agencies, hospitals, insurance companies or patients for conducting or analyzing tests. Ricks said the work it is doing with the state is a contribution Eli Lilly can make to help slow the spread of coronavirus in its home community. And, this testing will be entirely free, Ricks added.

Indiana State Health Commissioner Kris Box, said Eli Lilly’s capabilities will have a significant impact on how the people of Indiana, as well as those worldwide.

“As the global COVID-19 pandemic has intensified, Lilly has redirected efforts to help solve critical issues – including potential therapeutics, diagnostics and testing,” Daniel Skovronsky, Lilly's chief scientific officer and president of Lilly Research Laboratories said in a statement. “Lilly's scientists have been working day and night for several weeks to implement and validate this testing approach, and access or produce the chemical reagents that are in short supply across the country. Lilly's lab meets the required certifications to conduct testing, and we're optimistic in our ability to help accelerate testing.”

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