November 21, 2023
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Cal Poly professors team with Hardy Diagnostics on new COVID test


Cal Poly professor Nathaniel Martinez in the lab. (courtesy photo)

Two professors at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo developed a new COVID-19 test that will be brought to market by Hardy Diagnostics, a Santa Maria-based medical device manufacturer.

The test uses saliva collected from the mouth on a strip, rather than a sample from a nasal swab. It was developed by Nathaniel Martinez, an associate professor of biological sciences at Cal Poly, and Andres Martinez, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry, according to a Dec. 14 university news release.

The test has been used on campus since February for students and employees, and has allowed Cal Poly to “double the number of tests it runs daily, while reducing the workload required to carry out the tests,” according to the university’s news release. The technology can also be used to test for other viruses, Cal Poly said.

The two professors worked with Cal Poly’s Technology Transfer and Corporate Engagement and Innovation offices, to file for patent protection and identify commercialization partners to further develop and scale the new test, with assistance from Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

“We are very excited about the partnership and the potential future of this device,” Jay Hardy, president of Hardy Diagnostics, said in a university-issued statement. “We believe that saliva testing for COVID will eventually be the dominant and preferred method, due to enhanced patient comfort and compliance.”