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UB and industry partners work together to fight COVID-19

Posted at 4:46 PM, Dec 16, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — COVID-19 rapid diagnostic test kits, a next-generation vaccine platform, air sterilization technology and advanced computing to understand how antibodies will react to the human body.

These technologies were developed right here in Western New York, thanks in part to the University at Buffalo and its Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences.

"For many of our industry partners, we've either provided funding and access to technological infrastructure to allow them to either develop new assays, or potentially treatments such as vaccines," said Norma Nowak, executive director of the Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics & Life Sciences

A couple of companies had been working on a COVID-19 diagnostic test.

"On Main Street in Buffalo is a company, ZeptoMetrix. And ZeptoMetrix basically makes controls that are used in molecular diagnostic testing," said Nowak.

Another company that has a base on Grand Island is Rheonix. IT produces fully automated testing devices used in part to detect infectious disease.

"And they were able to actually do that test, develop that test in three months and get it approved through the FDA for emergency use authorization," said Nowak

Another company, You First Services, used UB's Center for Computational Research to model and figure out how to purify the air in a room or a building.

"[It] heats and compresses air in rapid cycles, and that heating and compression just basically destroys the virus particles. And it's not just the virus it'll destroy bacteria, so it really does create a clean air environment," said Nowak

UB has worked with companies for years, providing its resources, expertise and facilities for their research.

When the pandemic hit, all the research simply had to pivot towards fighting this pandemic in our community.