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CRISPR Pioneer Doudna Opens Bay Area Lab to Run COVID-19 Tests

2020-04-01 17:03

Jennifer Doudna is known as being one of the discoverers of CRISPR-Cas9 system.

In light of the developing COVID-19 crisis, Doudna has turned a scientific laboratory into a test area for running medical tests to detect the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

The new lab is located at UC Berkeley’s Genomics institute. It’s being run by more than 50 volunteers from Berkeley and its environs.

It will use Thermo Fisher’s COVID-19 test, authorized by the FDA EUA. The laboratory already met safety specifications needed to handle a contagious virus because of their planned work with CRISPR.

“The throughput numbers assume only one thing: that Thermo supplies and kits do not run out,” said Fyodor Urnov, the genomics institute’s scientific director. He said that the group has already paid a hefty sum for 10,000 of the kits.

Doudna said that her group did a survey of local laboratories, and said that a number of them were running the testing reactions manually.