AUBURN, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama Department of Commerce and city of Auburn are awarding $250,000 to OraSecure, LLC to accelerate the company’s breakthrough saliva collection device to help in the battle against COVID-19. The project will be based in Auburn.
“We felt there’s a great opportunity to establish a company here and the funding provided by the state and the city will function like seed money,” said Auburn Deputy Director of Economic Development Ardnt Siepmann.
“We all know that as a nation we’re really fighting a shortage of being able to test rapidly, safely, and effectively,” said Alabama Department of Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield. “The Alabama Innovation Fund is a key component in our efforts to spark the creation of high-impact ‘Made in Alabama’ products by stimulating breakthrough research.”
Officials say the money will help finalize the initial manufacturing run needed to start mass producing the devices and complete validation with the FDA. Swigro is working with OraSecure to bring the product to the market.
“Whoever made swab tests, everybody says it’s horrible. This is much easier, because it’s a little cup that you’ll spit in,” said Swigro Additive Manufacturing CEO Renato Gross. “There’s actually two tubes and the advantage is that with two tubes you can simultaneously test for the COVID virus and the antibodies. So you don’t need to go through two testings. The idea is that once we are executing in the next month or so the pilot phase, we are already starting to work on the high volume production and that’s the next step.”
Officials say that the saliva test is designed to be able to be used by everyone, including non-medical professionals and can be tested in the same labs as nasal swabs, and rapid tests.