COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Gov. Mike DeWine said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued an approval that could boost COVID-19 testing capacity in Ohio.
In addition, DeWine announced a new team headed up by two former Ohio governors that will oversee testing in the state.
The FDA approved a new reagent from a company named Thermo Fisher Tuesday, according to DeWine.
“Most of the labs in Ohio use Thermo Fisher’s machines and the problem has been there has just not been enough reagent,” DeWine said.
DeWine said the reagent is the “secret sauce” necessary to determine if the sample does contain the COVID-19 virus.
“This will significantly, significantly expand the capacity of these labs,” DeWine said. “It is not the only thing slowing us down, but it is significant and this was a good victory.”
DeWine was on Meet the Press this past Sunday, requesting the FDA approve the reagent, saying approval could boost Ohio’s COVID-19 testing capabilities by two to three times.
Thermo Fisher is hoping to give Ohio enough reagent so that by mid-May, there is a significant increase in the number of tests conducted in Ohio, according to DeWine.
The governor added that the state is working with other companies to obtain more reagent kits to continue to boost testing capacity.
“Testing is vital as we begin to reopen our economy,” DeWine said.
Former Ohio Governors Dick Celeste and Bob Taft will head the testing strike team.
The team will work with businesses, higher education, and public health to help source testing items for the state. The team will also make sure the state is maximizing the testing it has available.
“I called each one of them this morning and asked them if they would do this,” DeWine said. “Each one, without hesitation, said that they would, and for that, I am extremely grateful.”
Taft served as Ohio’s governor from 1999 to 2007, while Celeste served from 1983 to 1991.
“These two leaders have a depth of experience in Ohio and internationally,” DeWine said. “They know their way around Ohio. They know their way around the world. Simply put, these two individuals know how to get things done and they know how to make things happen.”