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HBCUs get $15 million from Gates Foundation to expand coronavirus testing

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“This will give us a different level of capacity,” said Wayne A.I. Frederick, the president of Howard. “The intent was really to have all the HBCUs participate, and if you have 10 hubs . . . I think we do have the capacity to cover just about everyone.”

Howard aims to work with other D.C.-area HBCUs, including Morgan State and Coppin State universities in Baltimore and the University of the District of Columbia, Frederick said.

HBCUs and the communities they serve have been among the hardest hit by the coronavirus. Black colleges and universities, historically under-resourced, are being acutely affected by the financial crisis the pandemic ushered into the world of higher education. And Black Americans, in part because of disparities in health-care access that are exacerbated by economic inequality, are at an increased risk of contracting the coronavirus and dying of covid-19, the disease it causes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But university leaders are hopeful the support from the Gates Foundation will make a difference by bringing more tests and faster results to their communities.

“All of us are located in . . . communities where these disparities are occurring and where the impact, I believe, will be tremendously great,” said Larry Robinson, the president of Florida A&M University in Tallahassee. Florida A&M also was selected to be a testing hub. He said the university will process tests for three other HBCUs in Florida.

Other testing hubs announced Tuesday will be at Hampton University in Hampton, Va., Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, and Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans. Up to four more schools will be selected in the coming weeks, a Gates Foundation executive said.

“The colleges and universities will continue to need access to diagnostic

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Applied DNA Secures $1.0+ Million in COVID-19 Surveillance Testing Annualized Revenue, Builds Sales Pipeline for Test Kit and Testing-as-a-Service

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– Announces Completion of Initial New York State Department of Health Inspection of Clinical Lab Subsidiary –

Applied DNA Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: APDN) (“Applied DNA” or the “Company”), a leader in Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)-based DNA manufacturing that enables in vitro diagnostics, pre-clinical nucleic acid-based therapeutic drug candidates, supply chain security, anti-counterfeiting, and anti-theft technology, announced that Applied DNA Clinical Laboratories, LLC (“ADCL”), its wholly-owned subsidiary, has secured COVID-19 surveillance testing contracts under its testing-as-a-service (“TaaS”) offering that are estimated to generate more than $1.0 million in total annualized revenue beginning October 1, 2020. The Company’s surveillance testing revenue expectation is contingent on full-term participation by TaaS customers, including:

  • Private schools based in Long-Island, N.Y., including Harbor Country Day School. Education customers comprise the bulk of the Company’s current testing volume;

  • Several New York State-based small enterprises and private clients.

Unlike diagnostic testing, which looks for the occurrence of COVID-19 at the individual level, surveillance testing looks for infection within a defined population or community and can be used for making health management decisions at the population level. Surveillance testing does not require a prescription. In surveillance testing, pooled test results are returned to the sponsoring organization in the aggregate, not directly to the individual, and may be performed without CLIA certification.

Concurrently, the Company is executing on a sales and marketing strategy to build a pipeline of LineaTM COVID-19 Diagnostic Assay Kit (“Assay Kit”) and TaaS opportunities through:

  • Outreach to independent and hospital laboratories in COVID-19 hotspots nationally and regionally to offer an additional diagnostic kit supply line;

  • Outreach to local laboratories to construct a reference laboratory relationship for overflow testing;

  • Deployment of testing at Stony Brook University in accordance with a recently signed Master Services Agreement.

“Our capacity to perform COVID-19 surveillance testing is grounded in self-collection

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Dr. Deborah Birx warns about COVID spread in small gatherings; praises aggressive college testing as model

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The frequent, recurrent testing on college campuses should serve as a model for communities at large, she said, so they can detect cases as quickly as the schools.

“It gives me really great hope to see how the college students have modified their behavior because they know what it takes to be safe,” she said. “And they have been able to mostly keep themselves safe with very low test positivity rates.”

Birx commended the Broad Institute for its key role in testing in the Northeast. Soon after the crisis began in March, the lab converted its laboratory into a high-throughput COVID-19 test processing center.

This spring, the institute signed contracts with 108 public and private colleges in the region to provide testing for students, faculty, and staff. Among the 1.7 million tests conducted for the colleges and universities so far, the positivity rate is 0.1 percent, or approximately 1 in 1,000, according to the Broad. The most recent seven-day average positivity rate for the state is 1.0 percent, according to the Department of Public Health.

The Broad collects samples from the schools and processes the tests for $25 per test, a discounted rate set for the schools compared to the $35 to $50 the institute regularly charges.

Birx was scheduled to meet with Governor Charlie Baker after visiting the Broad Institute.
Birx was scheduled to meet with Governor Charlie Baker after visiting the Broad Institute.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

“This is really the best part of our COVID response is when you see hospitals transcend their competitive status, when you see universities transcend their normal competition to work together putting the students and the safety of the students first,” she said.

Birx also toured the testing facility that Boston University has set up on its campus. That institution tests many students twice a week. She was also expected to meet with Governor Charlie Baker later

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The US Army is testing augmented reality goggles for dogs

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The US Army is trialing a new technology that could “fundamentally change how military canines are deployed in the future” — a pair of augmented reality goggles for dogs.

Dogs are put to many uses in modern militaries, from detecting explosives and searching for targets to accompanying infantry patrols in dangerous areas. Usually, handlers issue commands to their dogs using hand signals or laser pointers, but these techniques require line of sight with the dog, limiting how far canines can stray from their humans.

AR reality goggles, though, could let military dogs operate at a distance without handlers losing control. The goggles have a built-in camera that transmits live footage remotely, and a heads-up display that can be used to show commands to the dogs. A dog could be directed to search a specific location, for example, while their handler stays hidden.

The prototype goggles are being tested on a rottweiler named Mater.
Image: US Army

The goggles are just a prototype for now and are being developed by Command Sight, a Seattle-based private company. The work is being overseen by the Army Research Laboratory. The prototype goggles are wired, but future versions will be wireless. According to a report from Stars and Stripes, the goggles’ command system works by simulating what a dog would see when following instructions via a laser pointer.

“Augmented reality works differently for dogs than for humans,” Army Research Laboratory senior scientist Stephen Lee said in a blog post. “AR will be used to provide dogs with commands and cues; it’s not for the dog to interact with it like a human does. This new technology offers us a critical tool to better communicate with military working dogs.”

The

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PCL Construction Teams with University of Denver, Citizen Care Pod Corporation and WZMH Architects on COVID-19 Testing Facility

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CCP Mobile COVID-19 Testing Pod Provides A Safe All-Weather Space for Health Professionals to Conduct COVID-19 Tests with Students and Staff Year-Round

PCL Construction is pleased to announce its work with the University of Denver and WZMH Architects to design, build and deliver a smart screening and testing facility – Citizen Care Pod Corporation’s (CCP) Mobile COVID-19 Testing Pod (Care Pod) to support the return of students to the University of Denver campus during the coronavirus pandemic. From concept to completion, the entire process took three weeks and is providing COVID-19 testing professionals with a permanent facility that provides a secure and comfortable environment.

Having used tents for COVID-19 testing, the university turned to PCL Construction for a more permanent solution to safely conduct testing through changing weather conditions. The 40-foot pod can test individuals who either walk or drive-up. Unlike tents, the pod offers a secure, safe and comfortable environment with climate control, HEPA filters, heating, air conditioning and positive air pressurization. It also is ADA compliant.

“We really needed to look for a solution that would last through the summer and winter,” said James Rosner, Associate Vice Chancellor, Facilities Management and Planning. “Tents really weren’t a good long-term option. The Care Pod solution was a perfect fit for the university to be able to test students, faculty and staff by providing both drive-up and walk-up options, and an ADA accessible window.”

The testing pods are easily modified for future use in administering a COVID-19 vaccine, as well as for flu and other viruses. Click here to see a video of the Care Pod’s installation.

“This is a safe space that is easily accessible for university students, faculty and staff to receive COVID-19 tests to ensure they study and work in a virus-free campus environment,” said Zenon Radewych, CCP’s

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