August 31, 2021

MG Designs Mount Sinai’s COVID-19 Saliva-Based P.C.R. Testing Lab

In the span of 3 months, Mitchell Giugola transformed an old laboratory space at Mount Sinai’s downtown campus into a high-volume COVID-19 test processing center with the power to analyze 100,000 saliva tests a day.

The Mount Sinai Health System created a Coronavirus testing program with the nonprofit Pershing Square Foundation and KIPP NYC, a network of 15 charter schools, to implement a saliva-based testing program for students, teachers and staff. The project is the result of a generous gift from Mr. William A. Ackman, a hedge fund manager who founded the Pershing Square Foundation.

Mount Sinai, largely led by the work of pathologist Dr. Alberto Paniz-Mondolfi and his team, was among one of the first groups to develop a saliva-based P.C.R. test, a far less invasive testing system that is more suitable for children. When the partnership between Mounti Sinai and Pershing Square developed, a pilot program was put into place conducting more than 13,000 tests of NYC schoolchildren. During the pilot, 99.2% of test results were returned within 24 hours.

This newly designed laboratory is a testament to New York City’s innovation capability and the strength of its biotech industry. The goal of this laboratory renovation is to make these less invasive, rapid P.C.R. tests available to more New York City schools, local business, and other organizations.