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Eugene start-up company claims COVID-19 kit can detect virus on surface

KPTV Portland logo KPTV Portland 9/4/2020
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EUGENE, OR (KPTV) – A start-up company in Oregon says it has come up with a way to detect the coronavirus days before an infected person starts to show symptoms.

A group of scientists started Enviral Tech in Eugene figured out a way to find out if someone around you is infected with COVID-19.

"We very specifically decided to look at testing of surfaces inside of buildings," Shula Jaron, CEO of Enviro Tech said.

The company came up with a coronavirus test kit with swabs anyone can use to take samples on commonly used indoor surfaces, from railings and doors to floors and even air filters.

"We need to know if the virus is in our workspace," Jaron said.

They tested surfaces in 52 senior care centers across the Pacific Northwest and they found several cases of coronavirus on surfaces. Someone was shedding virus with no symptoms at all.

"They were screening for all the things we've been told to screen for, so cough, congestion temperature--but these people were asymptomatic, so they weren't displaying any of those symptoms that we look for, but they were shedding virus!" she said.

The results gave the facilities a head-start to stop a potential deadly outbreak.

"They were able to turn around immediately and test everybody in the facility to identify those individuals who were shedding virus and then remove them and stop the potential spread in their facilities. Frankly we've been told we've saved lives," Jaron said.

The kit has overnight delivery and you get results in hours to make fast decisions.

"If you're in Seattle and you swab today and you send it back today, we'll tell you tomorrow," she said.

Enviral Tech says testing surfaces might be the most effective way to get workforces back in the building and could also help get kids back in the classroom or even be used in your home.

A single kit with four swabs costs $300 but the company is also offering subscription plans.

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