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Lincoln animal health company pivots to create COVID-19 tests for rural hospitals

Published: Jan. 12, 2021 at 5:35 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - COVID-19 testing machines will be heading to some rural hospitals in Nebraska, thanks to a Lincoln animal health company taking on a new challenge in 2020.

MatMaCorp went into 2020 thinking they’d work toward protecting the food supply from diseases like African Swine Fever and Bovine Congestive Heart Failure. But CEO Phil Kozera said when COVID-19 hit, they knew they had to help.

Kozer said he and co-workers kept hearing that in their friends and family in rural Nebraska weren’t able to get COVID-19 tests easily, and if they were the results took at least two days to come back because most hospitals didn’t have testing in house.

“We got together as a company and decided it was important for us to help and support the state,” Kozera said.

Using their previous experience with RNA vaccines in diagnostic tools for animals, MatMaCorp created a COVID-19 test machine in around a month. The machine can process six PCR tests per two hours and is now approved for emergency use by the FDA.

“So you compare a time of two hours with 48 hours and that’s going to allow people to get back to work, get back to school, to understand if they’re positive or negative,” Kozera said.

Kozera said the tests will work well for rural hospitals because they’re small and don’t require additional equipment or special refrigeration.

MatMaCorp has teamed up with the National Institute of Health and will use grant funding to get these testing machines first to Nebraska hospitals then to others in the Midwest.

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