Fort Pierce-based lab now helping process COVID-19 tests, preparing to test for COVID-19 antibodies

“We ran about 135 of them on Monday and Tuesday with about a 16% positive rate.”
Coronavirus testing in Hawaii laboratory
Posted at 10:05 PM, Apr 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 10:37:00-04

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — A Fort Pierce-based laboratory is getting in on the efforts to process more COVID-19 tests to help meet the local need for more access to the test.

Dynix Diagnostix CEO Christian Gorman said the lab has been trying for weeks to get the supplies that are needed to process COVID-19 tests, fighting nationwide demand. Last week, he says he got everything that they need.

“We ran about 135 of them on Monday and Tuesday with about a 16% positive rate,” Gorman said.

Gorman explained they are processing tests for their more than 100 clients, which are mainly communal housing and in-patient facilities such as rehabilitation centers, mental health clinics, and nursing homes primarily in Palm Beach County.

“The thing about the percentage of positives that’s somewhat alarming is the fact that a large majority of the population we swabbed wasn’t experiencing symptoms,” Gorman said. They tested both patients and healthcare workers at multiple facilities.

Dynix Diagnostix anticipates being able to process hundreds of tests per week, helping more people in high-risk environments stop the spread of the virus.

"Now, we’re able to test a lot of those people who are our clients who have communal housing to help fulfill that need,” Gorman said.

RELATED: Antibody testing to ramp up in West Palm Beach to combat coronavirus

Dynix Diagnostix is also gearing up to start running antibody tests. They already process about 3000 blood tests each month, testing for viruses, infectious diseases, or drug tests. Gorman anticipates his clients will want to add the COVID-19 antibody test to their panels.

“That tells you if you have been exposed in the past and if you have or possibly have immunity going forward,” Gorman said.

Dynix Diagnostix already owns two machines from the manufacturer Abbott, which Gorman said recently announced it has created an antibody test.

Abbott said on its website, "We're significantly scaling up our manufacturing for antibody testing and expect to ship close to 1 million tests to U.S. customers this week and 4 million of the antibody tests during April.”

Gorman says he has placed an order and expects to receive 1500 antibody tests next week.

With antibody testing ramping up, Gorman is hopeful that it will speed along the process of moving past the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With everybody wanting to open the country back up, people want to go back to work, go to sporting events, go to the beach stuff like that, that test can be done in high volume and high throughput machines. Once you have that antibody, you are pretty much good to go,” Gorman said.

He is also considering working with larger local companies to test staff members for antibodies to see if it is safe for employees to return to work sooner than expected.