Columbia University research team to get $164K to study antigen test
New York’s road to economic recovery is going to be long, but city officials want to speed things up by making Covid-19 tests easier to access.
The New York City Economic Development Corporation, which bolsters economic growth in the city, plans to work with researchers from Columbia University to produce a rapid Covid test that would be available to the city directly, the Wall Street Journal reported. The group plans to award $164,000 to Dr. David Ho, a researcher at the university, in an effort to fund studies of the rapid test.
“The sooner that we can get testing innovation out there, the sooner we can reopen things and get people back to work at a broader scale,” NYCEDC head James Patchett told the publication.
Columbia researchers previously developed a test that was used to help reopen the school’s Morningside Heights campus. Ho, director of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center at Columbia, told the newspaper that his team will seek emergency-use approval for its antigen test from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The move comes as the city takes steps to open more businesses and facilities that have been closed due to the pandemic. Indoor dining returned in February, with restaurants now allowed to operate at 35 percent capacity; sporting events have also welcomed attendees, and more things like weddings and summer camps will be allowed in the coming months.
But the city’s positive Covid-19 cases remain high, even though the numbers have been decreasing in recent weeks. And New York remains in the bottom 10 states as far as vaccinations go, according to the Journal.
Separate from the EDC’s effort, real estate companies like RXR Realty and Related Companies have been taking matters into their own hands by establishing on-site rapid-testing facilities on their properties in an effort to get more workers back to offices.