ATLANTA — Justin Bellante, a graduate of Dayton Christian High School and former resident of Englewood, is now president and CEO of BioIQ, a health care resolution consultancy in Sandy Springs, GA.
He is the son of Phil and Rose Bellante of Englewood.
BioIQ has developed a new saliva test for COVID-19. The company began to distribute the test kits to health providers this week making them available for use with clinician oversight in a clinical setting. The test kits cannot be used by the general public in their homes at the present time.
The goal is to get test results back in 24 hours, 48 hours at the most using a network of labs connected to the company.
A foam swab used to collect saliva attached to a vial is inserted into the mouth and rubbed against the lower side wall of the mouth about 10 times. Afterward the swab can be detached and inserted into the vial and sealed. The vial contains a preservative to protect the saliva sample.
There is a shortage of the nasal swab kits currently used for testing. The demand for more kits is insatiable, according to Bellante.
The BioIQ mouth swab kit has the potential to expand testing. Bellante also believes the mouth swab kits can help protect health care workers from getting the coronavirus. That’s because the patient can be handed the mouth swab to use and once the patient seals the vial it can be dropped into a box without being handled by the doctor or clinician overseeing the procedure.
“The person is less likely to sneeze on a clinician,” Bellante said. “They also don’t have to get within the distance of a clinician. The clinician can provide oversight from six feet away and watch the person collect the sample, put it back in the vial and then drop it in a box. They don’t have to have any interaction; just oversight. That basically protects both the patient and the clinician.”
This could also reduce the use of personal protective equipment because doctors won’t go through their supply as quickly by using this sample collection method.
Bellante said frontline health care workers will be the first to be supplied with the kits. He then hopes to eventually have enough kits produced to make them available to the general public for use in their own homes.