Mirimus, Inc. Partners with St. John's Athletics to Enable COVID-19 Surveillance Testing of Student Athletes Using Pioneering SalivaClear Pooled Testing Platform
NEW YORK, April 20, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Mirimus, Inc., a leader in conducting high-volume, high-quality PCR testing, today announced that since November 2020 it has worked with St. John's University, a coeducational Catholic and Vincentian university in New York, to conduct rigorous COVID-19 surveillance testing of student athletes using its pioneering SalivaClear COVID-19 pooled saliva testing platform. The SalivaClear platform consists of three key elements – saliva-based sampling, pooled testing and gold-standard PCR molecular diagnostics – that, when combined, enable frequent, high-quality, high-throughput, low-cost detection of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
St. John's initiated its COVID-19 surveillance program on June 26, 2020 and tests all 300+ student-athletes participating in the university's athletic program, which includes 17 sports, as well as coaches and staff, at least twice per week. Since St. John's program with Mirimus began, more than 8,000 saliva-based tests comprising more than 330 pools have been performed. The resulting data has helped the university's sports health administrators guide and adjust teams' response to the COVID-19 outbreak and has been an essential component in enabling the St. John's athletic teams to remain safe and active.
"Mirimus, Inc. has provided exceptional service with its saliva-based, PCR pooled testing program," said John Diffley, Deputy Athletic Director.
Jill Christensen, Director of Sports Medicine at St. John's University, added, "We have developed an effective testing model that has allowed us to take swift action when needed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak."
Frequency of testing depends on the contact level of the sport. Athletes participating in higher-risk sports such as hockey, wrestling and basketball undergo testing three times a week, while those participating in lower-contact sports such as baseball and fencing undergo testing twice a week.
Rather than run each COVID-19 test separately, a time and cost-intensive process, saliva samples from up to 24 individuals are combined, or pooled, and then analyzed in a single test at Mirimus' laboratory. If a pool shows a positive result, it is separated into smaller pools and further testing is done to identify the positive individual or individuals. In cases where there is a positive test result, that team's activities are immediately paused until contract tracing can be performed and a further determination can be made.
Saliva-based sampling is simple, safe and noninvasive. As detailed in a recently published scientific paper, entitled, "Pooled Surveillance Testing Program for Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infections in K-12 Schools and Universities," SalivaClear has been shown to substantially reduce the cost associated with PCR testing and allow schools to rapidly assess transmission and make data-driven decisions to adjust prevention protocols.
After individual saliva samples are collected from St. John's student-athletes, they are shipped to Mirimus' lab where they are pooled into groups of 24 and analyzed using the FDA Emergency Use Authorized ThermoFisherScientific TaqPathCOVID-19 Combo RT-PCR Kit. The pooled test results are typically reported to St. John's within 24 hours of sample receipt at the laboratory. If a pool tests positive, it is split into 12 pools of two, which are re-tested at the laboratory. If a positive signal emerges from a two-sample pool, the two individuals are asked to provide consent for a final test to determine individual positivity.
"We are pleased to be working with St. John's University, a fellow New York institution, to provide a solution to COVID-19 surveillance testing for their student athletes that is effective, efficient and affordable," said Prem Premsrirut, M.D., Ph.D., Co-founder and CEO of Mirimus. "Sports represent a risk area for COVID-19 given the close proximity of competing players and inability to maintain strict COVID protocols, such as mask wearing. This risk is heightened with top-tier intercollegiate athletic programs, such as St. John's, where games are frequent and travel is required. As such, the robust surveillance testing that SalivaClear provides is essential to ensuring a safe court, rink or playing field because it enables sports health administrators to quickly isolate hotspots before they can become outbreaks."
SalivaClear, developed by Mirimus, Inc., is a pioneering COVID-19 testing platform that combines saliva-based sampling, pooled testing and PCR diagnostics to enable high-quality, high-throughput, low-cost detection of SARS-CoV-2. SalivaClear is designed to accomplish what other COVID-19 testing approaches have thus far been unable to achieve – providing a SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic system that can be easily and repeatedly utilized by myriad organizations, from schools to businesses to government organizations, to test (and retest) groups of individuals in order to quickly isolate COVID-19 hotspots before they can become outbreaks. For more information, please visit www.salivaclear.com.
About Mirimus, Inc.
Since its founding 10 years ago, Mirimus, Inc. has established itself as a leader in conducting high-volume, complex and highly effective PCR testing. This unique skillset led Mirimus to develop SalivaClear, a COVID-19 testing platform that combines saliva-based sampling, pooled testing and PCR diagnostics to improve the scalability, efficiency, cost-effectiveness and accuracy of COVID-19 testing. For more information, please visit www.mirimus.com and www.salivaclear.com.
About St. John's Athletics
St. John's sponsors 17 varsity athletic programs with proud and storied traditions. A charter member of the BIG EAST Conference, the Red Storm has won 10 league championships since the BIG EAST realigned in 2013-14 and has continued to serve as one of the nation's most competitive conferences. Located in the entertainment and media capital of the world, the Red Storm bears the moniker of "New York's Team" with the men's basketball squad playing a percentage of its home games at "The World's Most Famous Arena," Madison Square Garden.
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SOURCE Mirimus, Inc.