As National HBCU Week is being celebrated this week, Jackson State University received its supply of rapid COVID-19 tests on Tuesday after they were shipped from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). JSU is among dozens of HBCUs slated to begin campus tests – with results available in 15 minutes.
Because the urban campus met HHS criteria regarding testing prioritization, all JSU faculty, staff and students can be tested now that the Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card Point of Care (POC) SARS-Co V-2 diagnostic tests have arrived on campus. The tests have received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).
The Trump Administration announced on Aug. 27 the purchase of 150 million BinaxNOW tests from Abbott, and they will be distributed throughout the U.S. It was developed specifically to simplify the testing process because no instrumentation is required. The test card is about the size of a credit card with a simple test procedure.
JSU’s Dr. Debra Mays-Jackson, vice president for Student Success and chief of staff, said, “We are pleased to offer as many rapid testing opportunities for our campus community. Our campus family health and safety are our priorities.”
Johnathan Holifield, executive director of the White House Initiative on HBCUs, hailed the collaborative work between HHS and the HBCU community.
“There really is no limit to what can be accomplished when there are common interests in good-faith engagement,” Holifield said.
Meanwhile, only facilities with a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA) Certificate of Waiver can receive and perform the BinaxNow test card. Abbott said the card’s performance has a 97.1 percent positive percent agreement and a 98.5 percent negative percent agreement in patients suspected of COVID-19 by their health care provider. Of course, this is within the first seven days of symptom onset.
During a webinar on Thursday, Abbott and CDC discussed how to perform the rapid antigen test in a university environment. Presenters also explained the functions of a free, optional (NAVICA) mobile app that holds testing data for every individual through a Cloud-based application by Abbott. This allows people to store, access and display their results when entering facilities requiring proof of testing.
The test works by using a simple nasal swab to collect specimens. Abbott says it uses minimal chemical reagents, thus lessening exposure to biohazardous material. It aims to detect “nucleocapsid protein antigen from SARS-CoV-2 in nasal swabs from individuals suspected of COVID-19,” an Abbott representative said. Also, the company noted that results should not be read after 30 minutes. Positive and negative results are reported to state agencies.
* COVID-19 Ag card below provides overview only and is not a substitute for training.