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Louisville lab producing synthetic DNA to develop thousands of COVID-19 test kits

For every shipment Eurofins Genomics makes, it helps develop parts for 5,000 test kits. The lab's supply has helped up to 100,000 kits to date.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Test kits are crucial to helping fight the coronavirus. A Louisville-area lab is helping produce critical parts for tens of thousands of the kits all around the globe. 

Eurofins Genomics LLC in Jeffersontown has been making synthetic DNA for years. Since the outbreak, about 80 people in the lab have been working 24-hour shifts through the weekend to keep up with demand. 

"To basically be able to supply bulk material which is custom DNA for the probes and primers that go into a lot of these test kits," director of marketing, James Corne said.

The lab is producing DNA sequences that go inside tubes. 

"Three of the tubes contain little tiny snippets of DNA that target a segment of the coronavirus and the fourth tube is just a control to tell you if the first three worked or not," Corne said. 

The DNA sequences are then compared to a patient's sample in order to determine if they are infected.

"Another company that we're providing this material to is going to take tiny amounts out of those tubes and break them into thousands of test kits because you only need almost infinitesimal amounts of DNA to actually perform the reactioner or the tests," Corne said. 

For every shipment Eurofins Genomics makes, it helps develop 5,000 test kits. Its footprint reaches countries like Brazil, Canada, and India. The lab's supply has helped up to 100,000 kits to date.

"One of the reasons we moved to come to Louisville is because of the logistical help here with UPS which is really great," Corne said. "It makes us the fastest provider in North America and there's nothing more important than time right now."

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