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Big Ten announces partnerships for athletes' COVID-19 testing
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Big Ten announces partnerships for athletes' COVID-19 testing

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The Big Ten Conference announced Wednesday evening partnerships with Biodesix, Inc., and Quidel Corporation in its effort to perform daily testing on football teams this fall.

The conference will use Quidel Corporation’s FDA-cleared SOFIA 2 SARS rapid antigen test daily on its football teams and staffs, and Biodesix will “oversee and manage the onsite testing of the Quidel antigen test while additionally validating with its droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) technology,” per a release.

This process will apply to all student-athletes and staff involved in close contact sports, the release stated. Daily testing for all football teams was mandated to begin Wednesday, but some teams, like the University of Wisconsin, started earlier with resources already on campus.

Biodesix and a contractor, Maxim Healthcare Staffing Services, Inc., will be collecting and testing the samples on campuses across the Big Ten.

“Along with its medical and scientific capabilities as a certified laboratory, Biodesix is committed to helping the Big Ten meet the testing requirements and reporting protocols established by the medical subcommittee and adopted by the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors (COP/C),” said Dr. Jim Borchers, Ohio State’s head team doctor. Borchers was a co-chair of the Big Ten Conference Return to Competition Task Force medical subcommittee.

Anyone who tests positive with the antigen test will take a PCR nasal swab test to confirm, and each school’s designated Chief Infection Officer will report cases to the conference. Some college football conference conferences, like the SEC, do not have a conference -reporting system.

“Additionally, Biodesix will perform validity PCR testing on a percentage of anonymous samples from individuals with negative antigen test results to provide data for the medical subcommittee to ensure that the rapid antigen tests are performing in accordance with expectations,” the release read.

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