Utah company making flu test kits to help doctors diagnose

Utah company making flu test kits to help doctors diagnose
This winter's flu bug has hit the nation hard, and the season is just peaking (Source: Pixabay)

WSFA/NBC - This winter's flu bug has hit the nation hard, and the season is just peaking.

One Utah company is working overtime to make test kits to help doctors diagnose various illnesses.

Biofire diagnostics makes test kits like these to help doctors diagnose various illnesses. Patient blood and other fluid sample are analyzed by the kits, which can deliver results in under an hour.

"We have a flu test as well as a gastrointestinal test.  We have a meningitis test and a blood culture id test," Meghan Kuehn with Biofire

But the flu test kits are priority one right now. So much so, to help keep an adequate supply for hospitals and doctors, the 550 employees on the manufacturing floor have been asked to do a little extra.

"This January we've seen 60 percent more demand for the flu product than we would in a normal flu season," Kuehn said.

In real numbers, that's 185,000 kits this month alone.

"And in order to meet that demand we've asked all of our teams to work overtime and be here," Kuehn said.

Extra shifts, nights, weekends, the 96,000-square foot manufacturing area is a busy place right now, and it will stay like this for a while yet.

"I think that we're seeing that the flu season is probably peaking so, but I imagine into February we will be working at this level," Mari Hoidal with Biofire said.

Each kit takes about two weeks to produce. Once it leaves this facility, it goes to a warehouse where they're sent off to various hospitals and labs around the world.

Biofire began gearing up for this year's flu season last March, hoping to have an adequate supply of these testing kits on hand through December but the flu bug had other ideas.

"Biofire is really committed, we're committed to making the world a healthier place and that's what gets us all up in the morning and that's why we're here," Hoidal said.

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