Loudoun County biotech company Aperiomics develops test for coronavirus

A coronavirus test kit developed by Loudoun County-based Aperiomics.

The Town of Purcellville and Sterling-based biotechnology company Aperiomics have teamed up to offer a drive-thru COVID-19 testing day on June 19 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The testing – which includes both RT-PCR tests for active infection along with IgM/IgG Antibody tests for COVID antibodies – will be offered outside the former Rite Aid location at 801 E. Main St. in Purcellville.

The COVID-19 test is done by using a throat swab, and the antibody test is completed by taking a sample through a fingerstick, which draws one drop of blood.

Dr. Crystal Icenhour, CEO of Aperiomics, told the Times-Mirror that this is the first time they have done a partnership with a town for testing. However, the biotechnology company has been working with health care providers and employers to do testing over the past few months.

“The goal is to help people feel more comfortable getting back into the workforce. The more data we have, the more we know about who has been infected and exposed. This can help scientists navigate us through the pandemic,” Icenhour said.

She said Purcellville Mayor Kwasi Fraser reached out to her to set up the testing. The town will be providing the testing site and police support at the event. The testing site was offered free of charge to the town by the owner of the property since the building is vacant and the tests will be conducted outdoors.

Friday's tests will be conducted in coordination with Labworks. There will be 2,500 tests available.

Aperiomics will process the samples and the results will be available between 12 and 72 hours after they have been collected. The first 96 samples will be sent immediately by courier to the lab in Sterling and the results will be delivered through an encrypted email, Icenhour said.

The combined cost of both tests is $150, which should be fully reimbursable by insurance if the individual meets the criteria from their insurer, she said.

On Wednesday night, Fraser said the tests would also be covered by Medicare. 

"Purcellville is committed to implementing solutions to measure the impact of COVID-19 on the health of our community. What gets measured gets improved. Over the last three months, we have used social media and our wastewater treatment system to gain visibility into the impact of COVID-19 in Purcellville, and now we are making available viral and antibody testing that are covered by Medicare and other insurance," Fraser said. 

Purcellville has paid a $7,500 deposit in advance to purchase the testing supplies. That is expected to be reimbursed after the first 250 people are tested.

“We want people to have the ability to get tested and get information to help them feel more comfortable, and get back into the 'new normal',” Icenhour said.

Aperiomics has been working with groups all over the country to provide testing and has recently been talking with schools about offering tests as a way to bring children back to school safely.

“We are working hard to be a resource,” Icenhour said.

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Editor's note: This story has been updated to include Mayor Fraser's comments with new information that Medicare will cover the cost of the tests on Friday. 

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