Retirement homes using respiratory tests developed in Charleston to screen patients, staff


FILE – In this Wednesday, March 11, 2020 file photo, a technician prepares COVID-19 coronavirus patient samples for testing at a laboratory in New York’s Long Island. Wide scale testing is a critical part of tracking and containing infectious diseases. But the U.S. effort has been plagued by a series of missteps, including accuracy problems with the test kits the CDC sent to other labs and bureaucratic hurdles that slowed the entrance of large, private sector labs. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

BEND, O.R. (WCBD) – Sunshine Retirement Living is a senior housing company with facilities in 16 states across the US, including Ashley Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care in Charleston. On Friday, the company announced that all locations will begin testing all symptomatic/possibly exposed residents and staff, as well as all prospective residents, using an FDA approved respiratory test developed in Charleston.

The Respira-ID test screens “for over 40 pathogens known to cause respiratory illness, including COVID-19.” The tests were developed by Charleston-based Vikor Scientific, “a high complexity…molecular diagnostics laboratory.”

Nursing home staff at all 32 Sunshine Retirement Living locations will receive virtual training on how to administer the tests, which will then be shipped back to Vikor “for analysis within 24 hours.” Vikor says that their processing system “has the capacity for high throughput, allowing [them] to test a high volume of patients daily.”

Sunshine Retirement Living’s CEO, Luis Serrano, said that they selected Vikor’s tests “because of the lab’s superior reputation, expeditious testing process, high throughput capacity, and FDA approval.”

In addition to previously implemented “infection prevention and control procedures,” Sunshine Retirement Living believes that widespread testing is key to protecting the health of their communities.

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