The University of Arkansas and NOWDiagnostics Inc. of Springdale announced a partnership Tuesday to study the prevalence of coronavirus antibodies among UA students, staff and faculty.
The company will use its ADEXUSDx COVID-19 test for the study. NOWDiagnositcs received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in May for the test, which detects the presence of COVID-19 antibodies in 15 minutes.
The study has been recruiting participants since March 17 and will test each participant three times over four months. It's designed to estimate the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and evaluate whether that significantly changes over time.
The goal is to inform policymaker decisions and assist state leaders in reopening businesses and schools, the organizations said.
Donald Catanzaro, a research assistant professor in the UA's Department of Biological Sciences, will serve as principal investigator.
"This study simultaneously accomplishes an in-depth study of how prevalent COVID-19 is among our campus community of students, staff and faculty which gives us information on the effectiveness of our pandemic public health policy," Catanzaro said in a news release. "Secondly, it assists NOWDiagnostics in understanding the performance of their innovative antibody test and, very importantly, this study gives our talented team of undergraduate researchers experience in clinical research — it really is a triple win."
Co-principal investigators are chemical engineering associate professor Shannon Servoss, a former member of the test development team at NOWDiagnostics, and Shengfan Zhang, associate professor of industrial engineering.
NOWDiagnostics, led by Chairman Jeremy Wilson and CEO Kevin Clark, makes one-step medical diagnosis devices that can quickly generate lab-quality results. It's developed an array of tests for pregnancy, heart attacks and toxicology, in the U.S. and Europe. It has offices in Arkansas, Los Angeles, Toronto and Italy.