UMaine system partners with Jackson Lab for testing

ELLSWORTH — The University of Maine System (UMS) has entered into partnerships with The Jackson Laboratory and ConvenientMD to provide COVID-19 testing services, University of Maine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy and Chancellor Dannel Malloy announced Tuesday.

Under the agreements, ConvenientMD will establish sites at each UMS university to gather samples and administer and report results. The samples will be tested by Jackson Laboratory for the presence of the virus. The partnership will focus on RT-PCR testing, which is considered one of the most reliable COVID-19 tests, with high accuracy and low false positives.

Testing strategies and logistics are being developed to accommodate all seven UMS universities and the University of Maine School of Law. Planning for the effort has been guided by the University of Maine System Scientific Advisory Board, which was formed by Chancellor Malloy to support the Fall 2020 Safe Return Planning Committee.

“The Scientific Advisory Board has been a tremendous resource in our planning,” said President Ferrini-Mundy. “We know that one of our biggest community health challenges is that asymptomatic people can be transmitting the coronavirus for weeks. Our screening strategies will help us identify and isolate infection.”

“We can take important, scientifically proven steps to protect ourselves and prepare our universities to be as safe as possible,” says UMaine assistant professor of microbiology Melissa Maginnis, a virologist who leads the UMS Scientific Advisory Board. “Proactively identifying infected, asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus and isolating them while they are contagious is an important part of our university community health strategy.”

Dr. Edison T. Liu, president and CEO of The Jackson Laboratory, said the lab is dedicated to improving human health and is “proud to join together as a community to help one another during this pandemic.”

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