The demand for Covid-19 testing isn’t slowing down, and Temple City-based Fulgent Genetics Inc. continues to answer the call.

On Sept. 23, the genetic testing company announced it had snagged yet another major Covid-19 testing contract — this time in Houston.
Fulgent is partnering with the Houston Health Department and Houston-area public schools to provide Covid-19 testing for students for the current academic year, ending in June. No dollar amount was announced for the contract.

So far, two school districts in the Houston area have signed on: the Houston Independent School District and the Aldine Independent School District, the seventh and 54th largest school districts in the nation, respectively.
Fulgent will be providing polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing involving nasal swabs to students whose parents consent to testing. PCR tests are considered the gold standard of Covid-19 tests because of their ability to pick up minute traces of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid.

Fulgent was in a strong position to win this contract because in August 2020, it opened its second fully equipped testing laboratory in Houston. That lab is capable of processing more than 20,000 tests per day. This is a substantial number, but much less than some Covid testing mega-labs such as the one the state of California opened a year ago in Valencia that can handle up to 150,000 tests per day. Having a lab so close by speeds up the turnaround time to process Covid tests, and Fulgent is promising to give Houston-area students and their parents the test results within 24 hours.

“With Covid-19 cases on the rise across the country, we hope to help protect students and faculty from the spread of the virus, particularly as vaccination rates remain low with school-age children,” Brandon Perthuis, Fulgent’s chief commercial officer, said in the announcement.

Fulgent last year won a contract to provide Covid-19 tests to New York City’s public school system, the largest in the nation. For the current academic year, Fulgent is one of four test providers used by the New York City Department of Public Education.
Closer to home, Fulgent has for the last 15 months been one of the main Covid test providers for the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services.

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