West Bloomfield Township’s Orchard Laboratories is providing rapid testing for COVID-19 using the ThermoFisher 7500DX Platform. It will be able to provide results within 24 hours and will initially conduct 400 tests per day.
It is expected to ramp up to more than 700 tests per day within weeks. The equipment detects the RNA found in the COVID-19 virus.
On April 6, it was reported that 4,444 tests were conducted in the state that day, with 41 percent proving positive per day. The new testing takes four hours for processing close to 100 nasopharyngeal swabs.
The instrument is one of a few in Michigan. In March, Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had issued an emergency use authorization for its diagnostic so it could be used immediately by specialist laboratories in the U.S. to detect nucleic acid from the virus.
“We saw the devastating impact this disease was having in Michigan, and how the lack of rapid testing was impacting the ability of medical staff to mitigate the spread of the virus,” says Sami Ahmad, founder and CEO of Orchard. “By investing in this equipment and working quickly to bring our laboratory up to the necessary codes for COVID-19 testing, we are providing our state with another important tool in fighting this pandemic.”
Ahmad and his brother Faisal Ahmad, COO of Orchard, previously focused the company’s work on toxicology testing for opioid use.
Orchard is now open seven days a week to receive COIVD-19 testing from urgent care facilities, doctors’ offices, hospitals, nursing homes, and more. The lab is also in the process of securing equipment to conduct antibody testing for the virus and hopes it will be launched in the weeks to come.
The lab was founded in 2014 and provides testing in molecular diagnostics. It supports services for drug testing, medication monitoring, and viral/bacterial identification to hospital organizations, medical practices, and clinics.