University Partner, Hackensack Meridian Health, Creates New   

University Partner, Hackensack Meridian Health, Creates New Rapid Response COVID-19 Test

By Michael Ricciardelli

The Center for Innovation and Discovery (CDI) within Hackensack Meridian Health, the University's partner in the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, has created a new test for COVID-19 that significantly reduces the wait time for results. News of the new test, which cuts the wait-time for results down to as little as just two hours, was widely hailed by the press and public health officials as "a major advance that will benefit patients, create a more effective triage system in its hospitals and potentially better control the spread of disease."

"Our mission at Hackensack Meridian Health is to transform health care and this new rapid test does precisely that," said Robert Garrett, chief executive officer of Hackensack Meridian Health. "We are all proud to provide this game-changing diagnostic tool which will ultimately benefit communities far beyond New Jersey. I applaud the efforts of the CDI in achieving this breakthrough." On March 13 a state of emergency was declared by the President of the United States in an effort to combat COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), have prioritized rapid and widespread testing for COVID-19 as a central part of its fight against the pandemic.

After receiving Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA and approval from the New Jersey State Department of Health, which commended Hackensack Meridian Health for its effort and success in "bringing online their laboratory to test for SARS-COV-2 and adding more testing capacity in New Jersey," CDI noted that "The test permits the network to quarantine and treat patients suspected of having COVID-19 more rapidly or in the case of a negative result, spare the patient unnecessary time in the hospital." "We believe our test could make the difference in stemming outbreaks," said David Perlin, the chief scientific officer and senior vice president of the CDI. "It's fast and it's accurate, and crucial hours could mean the difference in stopping the spread of this virus."

The Center for Innovation and Discovery shares a campus with the Hackensack School of Medicine at Seton Hall University, which is located within the Interprofessional Health Sciences Campus (IHS) in Nutley, New Jersey. In the belief that the future of medical education should mirror "the team approach" to the practice of medicine as well as medical research in the 21st century, the IHS Campus in Nutley also houses Seton Hall's School of Health and Medical Sciences and its College of Nursing.

In describing its relationship with the School of Medicine, the Center for Innovation notes that "CDI strongly believes that medical education and scientific research go hand-in-hand" and that because it "shares a campus" with the School of Medicine, that "lends itself to a close partnership between the two entities," and that "Many of the faculty at the CDI will teach courses at the medical school, and the medical school faculty and students will become involved in the research projects taking place at the CDI. This will serve as an excellent platform for the sharing of ideas among different disciplines, an approach that is at the heart of CDI. Learn more.

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