Just over a week ago, the Pac-12 announced a major breakthrough, landing a deal with Quidel Corp to acquire the means to do daily testing. Now, Nebraska football will have the same ability, in hopes of getting its season off the ground sooner than later.
According to the Omaha World-Herald, Nebraska has received Quidel’s Sofia-2 Analyzer, and 1,200 testing kits so far. The goal is for the Huskers to be able to test players multiple times a week, with access to rapid-turnaround PCR tests to confirm the presence of COVID-19. Per the report, Nebraska hopes to be able to test opposing teams as well.
The three active Power Five football leagues—the ACC, Big 12, and SEC—are currently conducting three tests a week: two antigen tests, and one PCR test, which is a more sensitive and accurate test. The Pac-12 is expected to begin daily antigen tests as it moves towards a restart sometime in the future. As of now, the schools in that league, like the Big Ten, are only set to start play sometime in the spring semester. Commissioner Larry Scott has hinted at potential for an earlier return, which he’d like to coordinate with the Big Ten if possible.
There has been less communication from the Big Ten side, which has led to serious frustration from players, parents and coaches. There is word that a start date around Thanksgiving is being discussed, but that wouldn’t allow for member schools to participate in the full postseason and College Football Playoff.
Breaking News: Nebraska has secured rapid-response, point-of-care antigen tests for potential upcoming season. Quidel testing machine on the way, to be housed in East Stadium. More: https://t.co/OLZ6d3TsTP. #huskers
— Sam McKewon (@swmckewonOWH) September 10, 2020
Nebraska football is one of the programs that has been the loudest about desiring a return to play this fall. Rapid testing could unlock that option, if other Big Ten programs come aboard.
Dr. Scott Koepsell, the medical director of the University of Nebraska Medical Center testing lab, believes things can be conducted safely with two or three league-wide tests per week, and rapid turnaround results.
Koepsell said Big Ten schools can navigate testing protocols needed to play sports this fall.
“Given the level of expertise and the universities in the Big Ten, there’s plenty of experience out there to tackle this problem,” Koepsell said. “The key there is flexibility and looking at the data as things evolve, but I certainly think that there can be enough recommendations and monitoring that football can be played safely. Absolutely.”
Hopefully we hear about some path forward, whatever it is, from commissioner Kevin Warren and Big Ten leadership soon.
The post Nebraska Acquires Rapid Testing Technology From Company Partnered With Pac-12 appeared first on The Spun.