LOS ANGELES - “We got into this because we want to get America back to work again and get back to our normal lives,” said Biomerica CEO, Zack Irani-Cohen
Inside this Irvine Biotech Company, Scientists have been working for weeks on a COVID-19 antibody test.
“The company is working 24 hours a day... I can tell you it’s never worked harder,” said Irani-Cohen
He gave us a tour of Biomerica as the company races to get FDA approval for its 10-minute finger prick test to determine immunity to COVID-19. Lab workers gave us a demonstration of how it works.
The company is one of dozens that have applied for the FDA’s emergency use authorization or EUA approval which allows biotech firms to fast-track their tests. The FDA provides a list of companies on its website that intend to sell these antibody test kits in the U.S.
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Experts say, the tests are seen as a critical next step to ending the pandemic.
“This is especially important in front line workers so if you think about the hospitals, the doctors the nurses and everyone who’s actually seeing COVID patients you really wanna know who’s already been infected so that you can put them on the front lines,” said Irani-Cohen.
Tuesday, during the Coronavirus Task Force briefing, Dr. Deborah Birx talked about antibody testing but also issued a warning.
“If you see them on the internet... Do not buy them until we can give you a test that’s reliable,” said Dr. Birx
And Wednesday, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti addressed antibody testing and how it could help end the safer-at-home order.
“The idea of folks having an immunity passport or something that allows them to work... Certainly would accelerate for me our economic recovery and my ability as mayor to lift the orders for some people in the coming weeks,” said Garcetti.
Meanwhile, Biomerica says it is already shipping test kits to its customers overseas and hopes to hit the U.S. market within a matter of weeks:
“I can’t tell you exactly what date but we think that’s gonna be soon... And so we’re excited to help the United States... We’re a U.S.-based company,” said Irani-Cohen.