Genetics and biotechnology company Orig3n is enabling COVID-19 testing for Massachusetts nursing home residents.

The Orig3n 2019 novel coronavirus test was given emergency-use authorization by the Food And Drug Administration for its ability to detect nucleic acid from the virus that causes COVID-19. It can be used in patients suspected of having contracted COVID-19.

More governors are requiring COVID-19 testing for nursing facility residents and staff. But questions remain about availability, cost and protocol, according to industry advocates.

The states’ actions follow last week’s White House recommendation that all nursing facility staff and residents be tested by the end of May. The recommendation is intended to help identify and isolate individuals who have the virus but are asymptomatic, thereby preventing further transmission. 

Senior care advocates have called for more testing abilities while questioning the accuracy and the cost of testing. Orig3n is billing its approach “as a model for the entire nation to make comprehensive testing happen.”

“While our nursing homes, employers, cities and towns are in great need of testing, they face the greatest challenges in coordinating multiple suppliers and service providers to provide testing on the scale that is needed,” said Robin Y. Smith, president and CEO  “Orig3n offers a single, seamless, end-to-end solution that incorporates specimen collection swabs, healthcare providers to collect specimens, logistics of transporting the specimens back to the laboratory, and testing in our Boston-based high complexity clinical laboratory. “

Results from the nasal swab specimens are expected to be available in 24-36 hours after the lab’s receipt. Building staff can collect the samples, or Orig3n can supply collection partners. Costs start at $100 per person.