Amazon-backed electrical car maker will assist launch a COVID-19 testing lab

Electrical car maker Rivian has inked a take care of the College of Illinois to make use of its COVID-19 saliva exams in its factories in Illinois and California.

The Amazon-backed startup donated $500,000 to U of I’s SHIELD COVID-19 testing program to launch and help a brand new lab at Illinois State College, which is near the corporate’s plant in Regular.

“The proximity of the Regular lab to our facility means the turnaround time for our employees’ COVID-19 take a look at outcomes has dropped from 36 to 24 hours,” Jessica Siron, director of environmental, well being and security at Rivian mentioned within the assertion. “This provides us the power to reply quicker to a optimistic take a look at outcome and hint it, which permits us to remain on schedule safely.”

The SHIELD lab in Regular, run by Illinois State College workers, opened Jan. 11 and is at the moment processing about 5,000 exams per week from Rivian’s 3.5 million-square-foot manufacturing plant in Regular. Rivian can be utilizing the U of I’s saliva-based take a look at in its operations in California.

The Irvine, Calif.-based automaker additionally has amenities in Arizona, Michigan, Vancouver, and England. It intends to launch a trio of latest autos in out of its Illinois manufacturing facility, aiming to make as many as 40,000 in its first full yr—or a median of virtually 800 per week.

SHIELD Illinois is charging personal corporations $30 per take a look at, plus the price of assortment, a U of I spokesman mentioned in an e-mail. This system at the moment has two personal firm clients, Rivian and agricultural large ADM. Different companions embody public entities like universities, schools, Ok-12 colleges, and authorities our bodies, which pay $25, plus collections, for the take a look at.

“We wish to assist reopen Illinois colleges and companies safely; that is our whole objective,” mentioned Ron Watkins, managing director of SHIELD Illinois, a unit created by the U of I System to share testing all through the state.

A separate university-connected unit, Sheild T3, helps deploy the SHIELD saliva take a look at exterior Illinois and can quickly start testing Rivian’s employees in Palo Alto, California.

So far, the U of I System has administered greater than 1.5 million of the SHIELD exams at its Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield universities, the assertion mentioned. The exams are getting used at greater than 40 websites.

This story first appeared in our sister publication, Crain Chicago Enterprise.

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