Fort Payne company creates new COVID-19 test

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FORT PAYNE, Ala. – DTPM in Fort Payne is creating new tests for COVID-19. The company installs and manages laboratories in physician’s offices and reference laboratories. 

It provides everything that is needed such as equipment, reagents, and consulting services to laboratories to ensure they properly operate. 

DTPM’s primary business focus is toxicology and molecular laboratories.

DTPM CEO Gene Cleckler said their research and development staff evaluated the genetic sequence that was published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) before designing the components of the test to specifically identify this virus.

Cleckler explained the collection procedure for Upper Respiratory test allows for two collection sites; Nose or throat. 

Once the swab is used to collect the sample, it is placed into Amies Buffer to stabilize the collected sample during transport to the lab.

The lab will take a portion of the collected sample and extract any DNA and RNA which may be present. The extracted sample is exposed to each assay (test) to determine if the DNA or RNA targeted by that specific assay is present in the sample.

Cleckler told WHNT News 19 that it is important to have any of these molecular tests to make sure physicians know exactly what someone has when they are sick. 

He added it allows them to be precise in determining what virus the patient has. 

DTPM started developing the test at the end of January and towards the end of February had all the necessary materials to test it in the lab.

Cleckler said the CDC is expediting the approval process. Employees will then be allowed 15 days to get FDA approval.

DTPM has approximately 120,000 assays in our lab already and can obtain another 120,000 within seven days.

Who will they contract with – Alabama providers first?

Clecker explained DTPM is currently contracted with many laboratories throughout the U.S., so they can provide the new tests to current customers immediately.

The test must be sent to a lab so they can analyze the specimen. 

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