Program Expands Efforts by Los Angeles-based Molecular Genetics Company MiraDx to Provide COVID-19 Tests to Essential Workers via Philanthropic Donations to its Sister Non-Profit
LOS ANGELES (April 13, 2020) — Mirakind.org, a non-profit organization dedicated to enabling individuals to make informed healthcare decisions based on their personal genetics, today announced that it has received a $50,000 donation from George and Loretta Whitesides to fund COVID-19 testing for healthcare providers and staff, as well as new and at-risk residents, at nursing and senior care facilities in the Los Angeles area.
MiraKind.org is the sister non-profit to Los Angeles-based MiraDx, a molecular genetics company that has transitioned its CLIA-certified lab to provide COVID-19 tests for essential workers, prioritizing hospital and field-based healthcare workers who are providing direct patient care, as well as first responders. MiraDx has the capacity to analyze 3,000 tests per day and will be scaling up in coming weeks to more than 10,000 tests per day. MiraDx has no backlog and is able to make test results available within 24-48 hours of receipt of samples at its laboratory. MiraKind.org is a resource for corporations, individuals, foundations and other philanthropic organizations to contribute funds to pay for much-needed COVID-19 tests for community organizations in need.
“We are very grateful for the generous contribution from George and Loretta,” said Joanne Weidhaas, MD, PhD, MSM, co-founder of MiraDx and founder of MiraKind.org. “There remains a tremendous need for fast, accurate testing of healthcare providers and other frontline workers who continue to make enormous sacrifices to protect the most vulnerable individuals in this pandemic, and specifically at nursing homes and other care facilities that have been particularly susceptible to widespread transmission of the virus.”
“Given the dire challenges presented by COVID-19 in the skilled nursing and senior home community, we were inspired to support needed testing to help these valuable institutions keep their residents safe,” said George Whitesides, who serves as the CEO of Virgin Galactic Holdings. “We also thought it was valuable to support additional PCR testing capacity in the Southern California area, which this lab can contribute to.”
“Asymptomatic spread is one of the biggest challenges of COVID-19, as shown by recent data from Iceland and other regional studies,” said Loretta Whitesides. “We hope that testing people in the essential workforce, who can’t shelter at home, will help identify asymptomatic COVID-19 positive people who can then be supported to decrease the spread of this disease, particularly in vulnerable communities.”
The MiraDx lab has a “high complexity molecular processing” designation, which allows it to conduct PCR testing, a highly sensitive approach that results in 90%+ accuracy and is considered the gold standard for virus testing. To determine whether an individual is infected with COVID-19, a sample of the patient’s DNA and RNA is collected via a throat swab. The MiraDx test includes an air-tight vial, collection swab, a biohazard bag, and simple instructions for collecting the sample needed for testing. The sample itself is collected under the supervision of a healthcare professional. MiraDx has a current supply of 25,000 tests per week to fight this pandemic, soon ramping to 50,000 per week.
Other individuals who wish to support additional testing at skilled nursing and senior care facilities may contribute at Mirakind.org, a recognized 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
About MiraDx and MiraKind
Dr. Joanne Weidhaas, MD, PhD, MSM is the co-founder of MiraDx, the founder of MiraKind, and currently a professor and vice-chair in the department of radiation oncology at UCLA. MiraDx is a Los Angeles-based molecular genetics company that identifies, validates, develops, and delivers novel germline biomarker tests for individualized cancer treatment, and now performs COVID-19 testing. Its goal is to improve human health and advance personalized medicine through the application of novel functional germline biomarkers. To learn more about MiraDx, please visit us at miradx.com.
MiraKind is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the understanding and use of genetics to deliver personalized information to enable disease prevention and treatment guidance. To date, MiraKind’s focus on the oncological community has had a positive impact on thousands of patients’ lives by allowing agency for each patient via education and access to testing. To learn about MiraKind, visit mirakind.org.