The Big Ten announces testing partnership with Biodesix Inc. and Quidel Corporation


Spartan Stadium (Photo: MSU Athletic Communications)

Jared Ramsey, General Assignment Reporter

EAST LANSING-The Big Ten announced today that it would be partnering with Biodesix, a leading diagnostic company within the field of lung health, and Quidel Corporation, one of the leading manufacturers of the FDA-approved SOFIA 2 SARS rapid antigen test, to help administer and oversee the comprehensive testing program conducted at each Big Ten university.

The announcement is a part of the Big Ten’s implementation of wide-reaching safety measures that are being put in place due to COVID-19. Testing from these two companies began today and will stretch into the foreseeable future. 

Biodesix administrators arrived on all 14 Big Ten campuses with the Quidel testing equipment in hand today as testing began.  Biodesix and its designated contractor, Maxim Healthcare Staffing Services, will assume all testing and sample handling responsibilities for the duration of the program. All Big Ten student-athletes and staff will have access to testing prior to every practice and game, as well as on request. 

Biodesix will also oversee and manage all onsite testing at each university in the Big Ten.  They will also provide comprehensive surveillance on each participating student-athlete in relation to SARS-CoV-2 (this is the name of the virus that causes COVID-19) as well as work to refer students who test positive to the Chief Infection Officer within each university.  The Chief Infection Officer will then be responsible for reporting confirmed cases to the Big Ten medical subcommittee. 

Dr. Jim Borchers, the Head Team Physician at Ohio State, said he believes that this step is absolutely crucial for the return of football. “Quidel’s rapid antigen testing technology represents the ability to perform COVID-19 surveillance testing on a large scale with prompt results,” said Borchers.

“The data we are scheduled to collect, and the research component of this partnership, will provide major contributions to all 14 Big Ten institutions as they study COVID-19 and attempt to mitigate the spread of SARS-CoV2 among wider communities,” said Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren. 

With the testing program underway, all Big Ten football teams are permitted to begin fully-padded practices. Players who test positive for COVID-19 will be sidelined for three weeks and undergo extensive heart screenings.