Alabama company gets approval to move forward with coronavirus test kits

This is including some here in metro Atlanta.

ATLANTA — An Alabama lab solutions group tells Channel 2 Action News that it just got federal approval getting them one step closer to releasing tens of thousands of coronavirus test kits.

If the kits meet federal standards for effectiveness, they can be released to test the public.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Nicole Carr was on the phone with DPTM Lab Solutions and Tide Laboratories CEO Gene Cleckler when one of his scientists got the confirmation that their Fort Payne, Alabama-based company and lab are one step closer to releasing 100,000 coronavirus test kits.

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“So, what it's going to allow us to do is to start testing. I'm getting so many requests locally from doctors. (It’s) very exciting news,” Cleckler said.

The company has developed what's called an assay for COVID-19. That means they have test kits that need federal approval for release.

“That's stage 1 of us starting to test. And then stage 2 is distribution,” Cleckler said.

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Cleckler said the approval came from BEI Resources, a pathogen research institution that works with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If a 15-day period of testing the kits leads to approval, Cleckler's company could begin distribution to physicians and mid-sized labs across the country, including one in Atlanta.

Meanwhile, as California Rep. Katie Porter pushed the CDC to commit to free testing for the uninsured, Carr was interviewing Theresa Pierce.

The uninsured Ball Ground woman was frustrated by a quote she said she received to test out-of-pocket, since she could not verify direct contact with a positive case or meet travel exposure requirements.

"Until I'm tested, I'm dead in the water, financially or otherwise," Pierce said.

She told Carr via FaceTime that she's been so sick with flu-like symptoms that she stopped operating her shuttle service for elderly people until she can take a test.

"How can I consciously, as a person, subject them to something that I'm not sure of?” Pierce said.

We’ve seen that commitment to free testing from the CDC director during congressional hearings this week, but we haven’t heard further guidance on that from the CDC yet.