University of South Carolina initiative saving lives see more
A gentle hum can be heard from a lab in the depths of the University of South Carolina's life sciences building. Take a peek inside, and you'll find something unusual.
Thousands of tubes of the spit belonging to the university's students, faculty, staff and Columbia residents.
Almost a year ago, the school's colon cancer lab changed course from its usual area of study and started analyzing how it could help as COVID-19 ravaged the world, killing hundreds of thousands across the country and shutting down campuses.
USC professors had a breakthrough when they started studying saliva there, said biomedical sciences professor Phillip Buckhaults.
They ended up creating what looks like a blue cocktail — and it exposes the COVID-19 genome in our saliva.
"We figured out a way to photocopy bits of the COVID genome," Buckhaults said. "It's like a liquid photocopier."
It's proven to be more efficient than nasal swabs for COVID-19 testing. There's no uncomfortable nasal swab involved. Materials for nasal-swab testing are often limited. And these saliva results come quicker. Those who get tested on USC's campus typically receive results within 24 hours.
When the saliva testing first began on campus, scientists were pipetting saliva samples with the "photocopier" liquid to see the COVID-19 genome appeared in the DNA when the saliva was "photocopied" several times.
Because it was done solely by hand, they were able to test only several dozen samples a day.
"The demand was more than we could keep up with," Buckhaults said.
So he sent an email pleading with USC president Harris Pastides for a liquid-handling robot that's able to do the pipetting automatically, saving a lot of time.
Pastides then got South Carolina-based Nephron Pharmaceuticals owner Lou Kennedy to write Buckhault a $14,000 check to buy one of the robots.
"Within two weeks, we went from a junkie, underutilized, decrepit lab space to really state-of-the-art," said laboratory director and professor Carolyn Banister.
Buckhaults also credited former USC president Bob Caslen for removing roadblocks to get more machines and a bigger lab — speeding up the process to speed up the process, so to speak.
Caslen worked with the state government and university officials to get thousands of dollars for lab equipment and borrowed testing machines from nearby labs, Buckhaults said.
"He saved a lot of lives in the Midlands by pouring resources into (Banister) and that lab and getting this test running," Buckhaults said.
Now, the lab is testing about 2,000 samples a day and returning samples within 24 hours, and its reach is beyond the Midlands. Quick-turnaround testing allows people to identify themselves as COVID-19-positive earlier and isolate themselves, reducing the spread of the virus and saving lives.
The testing technology has expanded across the state. USC satellite campuses, including Upstate and Union, as well as Clemson, Winthrop, the College of Charleston and Trident Technical College are able to use the saliva tests created at the USC lab.
The testing is able to recognize different variants of COVID-19 as well.
USC Interim President Dr. Harris Pastides, Sec. of Commerce Machelle Baker Sanders to Co-Chair see more
The South Carolina Institute of Medicine and Public Health (IMPH) and the North Carolina Institute of Medicine (NCIOM) announced today the creation of the Carolinas Pandemic Preparedness Task Force. The task force will be chaired by University of South Carolina Interim President Dr. Harris Pastides and North Carolina Secretary of Commerce Machelle Baker Sanders.
Over the past year, IMPH and NCIOM have worked jointly to develop this initiative, which will provide North and South Carolina with recommendations for a resilient response to future disease outbreaks. Task force members, led by steering committee representatives from both states, will work and learn collaboratively to develop evidence-based recommendations to support future state and local planning efforts.
The task force will examine lessons learned during the current pandemic in areas related to health, education and economic and social stability with a guiding focus on equity and responding to the needs of historically marginalized and vulnerable populations.
With funding and support from The Duke Endowment, the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, the BlueCross® BlueShield® of South Carolina Foundation (an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association), and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, steering committee meetings are underway. Full task force meetings will take place from July 2021 to April 2022, followed by the publication of a final report from each state in June 2022.
The South Carolina Institute of Medicine & Public Health (IMPH) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to collectively inform policy to improve health and health care in South Carolina. In conducting its work, IMPH takes a comprehensive approach to advancing health issues through data analysis and translation and collaborative engagement. IMPH seeks to achieve its mission by convening a diverse group of stakeholders around health issues important to South Carolina. Learn more at imph.org
Universities are the largest job creators in two thirds of America's largest cities see more
Human psychology primes us to see marquee projects like Amazon's HQ2 as the pinnacle of economic development. Big-name corporate partners capture people’s imagination, with promises of new jobs and state-of-the-art campuses that will revitalize long-stagnant neighborhoods, practically overnight. However, perspective can be easily lost in all this excitement. For every region like the Washington D.C. metro area that secures an HQ2-like award, there are hundreds of other places that thrive off lower-profile, but no less important, economic anchors.
Universities, for example, are the largest job creators in 66 of the 100 largest U.S. cities. Part of the reason that these figures do not regularly make headlines is that they have been regarded as gospel for generations of economic developers.
Read how, through the thought leadership of University of South Carolina’s (UofSC) former president, Dr. Harris Pastides, USC proactively confronted this challenge. Click for full article from Route Fifty.
South Carolina Life Sciences Conference to Feature BIO global CEO Jim Greenwood, Over 50 National Speakers as SCBIO 2018 Takes Center Stage October 23-25BIO global CEO Jim Greenwood, Over 50 National Speakers to Present at SCBIO 2018 see more
Conference registrations soar with sell-out expected; CEOs and top industry leaders head to Charleston for strategic partnership development, industry insights
SOUTH CAROLINA – September 26, 2018 – BIO global CEO Jim Greenwood will join more than 50 additional national speakers at SCBIO 2018 – the annual conference bringing top leaders and executives from life sciences organizations across the state and nation to Charleston, South Carolina October 23-25.
Mr. Greenwood will address the gathering with a keynote presentation entitled “Global Perspectives for Life Sciences – Compelling Opportunity for South Carolina” the morning of the conference opening on October 24. His presentation will be bracketed by two high-powered panel discussions – a feature panel comprised of top pharmaceutical executives entitled “Pharma’s Future in the Palmetto State and Beyond,” and followed by the Southeast US Economic Development Luncheon featuring an address by Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. The luncheon will be capped by a panel featuring life sciences economic development CEOs from across the Southeastern region. Conference Chair and Womble Bond Dickinson partner Stephanie Yarbrough will moderate the luncheon panel.
Scores of top industry chief executives, leaders in government and higher education, biotechnology and pharma executives, clinicians and researchers, and industry supporters from across America have already registered to attend SCBIO 2018 at Charleston’s Gaillard Auditorium, with registration already doubling the pace of 2017. Among committed speakers and panelists are DePuy Synthes Global Orthopedic Leader I.V. Hall, Nephron Pharmaceuticals CEO Lou Kennedy, J.P. Morgan Executive Director of Healthcare Investment Banking Bell Zhong, MUSC President David Cole, USC President Harris Pastides, Siemens Healthineers North Americas President Dave Pacitti, and numerous others.
Themed “Connect. Collaborate. Advance!” the 2+ day conference draws attendees from across America for networking, innovation updates, opportunity discovery, partnership making and strategic discussion. Committed attendees include officials across a broad spectrum of life sciences industries including medical devices, bio manufacturing, drug discovery, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics and testing, digital health and health IT, bio ag and more. Space is limited and advance registration is still available at https://www.scbio.org/events/scbio-annual-conference.
SCBIO is South Carolina’s investor-driven economic development organization exclusively focused on building, advancing, and growing the life sciences industry in the state. The industry has an $11.4 billion economic impact in the Palmetto State, with more than 400 firms directly involved and 15,000 professionals employed in the research, development and commercialization of innovative healthcare, medical device, industrial, environmental and agricultural biotechnology products.
SCBIO 2018 kicks off Tuesday evening October 23 with an Opening Reception for conference registrants, speakers and sponsors at The Dewberry Hotel, presented by Explore Charleston and The Dewberry. Wednesday will feature a complete day of sessions beginning at breakfast and continuing through a gala evening reception presented by Womble Bond Dickinson. The conference will wrap up Thursday at lunchtime.
“The life sciences industry is a major driver of South Carolina’s economy, and this conference is testament to the industry’s growing impact, reach and rapidly rising economic significance in our state and region,” noted SCBIO President and CEO Sam Konduros. “Already accounting for thousands of highly-skilled jobs in the Palmetto State, this sector has tremendous growth potential, and we’re excited to showcase the top companies, research universities and leaders from across our state and country at SCBIO 2018.”
Among leading biotech and med-tech industry brands participating in the conference are Nephron Pharmaceutical, BIO, Johnson & Johnson, AVX, PhRMA, DePuy Synthes, Medpoint, AdvaMed, Poly-Med, VWR, Ritedose Corporation, Rhythmlink, SoftBox Systems, ZEUS, Patheon Thermo Fisher and more. All of South Carolina’s research universities – MUSC, Clemson and the University of South Carolina – are represented, as are major healthcare systems, and economic development entities including the South Carolina Department of Commerce, SCRA, the Upstate SC Alliance, the Charleston Regional Development Alliance, Central Carolina Alliance and SiMT.
As the official state affiliate of BIO -- the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology organizations – SCBIO members include hundreds of academic institutions, biotech companies, entrepreneurial organizations, service providers, thought leaders, economic development organizations and related groups whose members are leading the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products that transform how we heal, fuel and feed the world.