Free COVID-19 Testing For Rural Areas, Fresno County Enrolls Patients - GV Wire - Explore. Explain. Expose
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Free COVID-19 Testing For Rural Areas, Fresno County Enrolls Patients



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UC San Francisco scientists are offering free sample analysis and test results, indefinitely, to all 58 county departments of public health in California.

“What it means is that we will probably be able to enroll somewhere between 30 and 50 patients every week into that study, and I really wanted to bundle into the rural testing that we’re doing already,” said interim Fresno County health officer Dr. Rais Vohra during a Zoom teleconference Wednesday with reporters.

New UCSF Lab

The new UCSF lab, launched last month with the support of CZ Biohub and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), tested its first samples from COVID-19 patients on March 20, and is now capable of processing more than 2,600 samples per day, returning results in as little as 24 hours.

“We’re one of the few rural areas that they’ll be enrolling. We will be able to test our rural residents all over the county,” Vohra said.

Not Just Testing for COVID-19

“It’s going to check for the COVID-19 infection, but it’s also going to check for other viral illnesses. And whenever serology (antibody testing) is available online, it will enroll people into a serology project,” said Vohra.

“All the pieces are in place for us to provide the critical testing capacity needed for every California county’s Department of Public Health,” said CZ Biohub co-President Joe DeRisi, PhD, also a professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at UCSF.

According to a news release from USCF, the ability to offer sample analysis and test results free of charge is made possible by philanthropic support for the lab from CZI, founded by pediatrician Priscilla Chan and her husband, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, in 2015.