A Liquid 'Shield' Used on Ebola Now Has FDA Clearance to Make Handling COVID Tests Safer for Lab Workers

Keerthi Vedantam

Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

A liquid formula coating the inside of tubes preserves the sample while putting frontline workers at minimal risk of getting infected.
Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash

A liquid formula used to neutralize Ebola and other highly contagious diseases has now been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration to be used on the coronavirus.

Called the DNA/RNA Shield, the liquid is manufactured by the Irvine-based diagnostics company Zymo. It could potentially make it safer for thousands of frontline workers who handle samples.


Companies such as Curative, Fulgent Genetics and Chan Zuckerberg Biohub were already using Zymo's formula in its testing efforts under an emergency approval given by the FDA. But this clearance allows for more labs to use the product, created without seeking approval.

The liquid "shield" was created in 2012 by CEO Larry Jia, along with scientists Stanislav Forman and Luigi Basilio. It can coat tubes that lab workers use to store saliva or saliva swabs for up to 28 days at room temperature, altering and disintegrating lipids, proteins and enzymes in coronavirus samples, and allowing workers to collect and transport samples to testing labs with minimum risk of getting infected themselves.

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