Midwestern Alum Part of Team Developing Coronavirus Tests

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April 22, 2020 | Downers Grove, IL

The Midwestern University community is responding to the coronavirus crisis in extraordinary ways. Students, faculty, staff, and alumni are working on the front lines caring for patients, serving our community, helping others, developing treatments, and improving testing options.

Dominik Kaltenbach, M.B.S., a 2019 graduate of the Biomedical Science Program on the Downers Grove Campus is a member of the Abbott Lab Research Team that is working on developing new tests to detect the novel coronavirus. “I am very proud to be part of Abbott’s Research & Development team that has already achieved much to allow the most rapid and reliable diagnosis of the coronavirus,” Mr. Kaltenbach said. “Abbott’s R&D teams work around the clock on several very important projects and assays for coronavirus detection.”

Mr. Kaltenbach has been working with his colleagues to develop a serological test that can measure the amount of antibodies or proteins that are present in the blood when the body is responding to an infection like the coronavirus. Abbott's test can detect the IgG antibody to SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2). According to Abbott, the antibody test is to be used on the company’s ARCHITECT i1000SR and i2000SR laboratory instruments, which can run up to 100 to 200 tests an hour.

“I am certain that through the release of this test and its increasing availability, we are now a big step closer to controlling the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr. Kaltenbach said. “My team, in cooperation with other teams, is currently working on also releasing this assay on the Alinity i system. Combined, the up to 20 million tests produced per month for the ARCHITECT i1000SR and i2000SR expected in June, plus more tests for the Aliniti i instruments, and other molecular tests such as the ID Now Point-of-Care test already released, will allow for testing for people who need it and the ability to quickly identify and isolate those infected. An antibody test like this also opens up several research opportunities for a better understanding of the disease development caused by SARS-CoV-2,” he added.

In the midst of this crisis, Mr. Kaltenbach reached out to his faculty mentors at Midwestern University to express his gratitude for the education he received. “I am very thankful that Midwestern University has prepared me well and continuously fueled my knowledge and dedication to research, which allows me now during these difficult times to contribute my part to the solution,” Mr. Kaltenbach said. “Midwestern taught me more and offered me more opportunities than I could have ever imagined.”