Promega is increasing its production of lab materials used to diagnose the novel coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 disease, as it continues to spread around the globe.
The company develops reagents and other lab materials for companies across the world, with one of them being Utah-based Co-Diagnostics that developed a test for the virus.
The Co-Diagnostics test, according to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Quick Response Manufacturing, has been approved for testing in Europe and is advancing toward clearance in the U.S. and India.
Promega, which is a partner of the Center for Quick Response Manufacturing, is participating in the manufacturing and dispensing of assay reagents – investigative procedures in laboratory medicine – in less than 10 business days.
According to a blog post written by Promega vice president Chuck York, the company has kept large quantities of lab materials in storage and has since added shifts to produce said materials seven days a week.
York said the company is paying its employees overtime and creating split shifts. The business is also delaying work on new product development and other activities as cases rise in Wisconsin. The state Department of Health Services confirmed cases in Wisconsin were in the double digits Friday, March 13, with 18 active cases and one person having since recovered.
The first cases of COVID-19 were seen in China in late 2019, and the disease has since spread internationally, affecting more than 129,000 people and killing over 4,500. The coronavirus family that causes the disease is also responsible for the common cold and respiratory syndromes such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
COVID-19 was deemed a worldwide pandemic on Wednesday, March 11, by the World Health Organization. The last time WHO declared a pandemic, which is defined as a worldwide spread of a new disease, was H1N1 influenza in 2009.
“At Promega, we are hearing the needs and concerns of our scientific colleagues and partners, and we are doing all that we can to help alleviate them,” the blog post read.