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‘Able To Help’

Trinity Biotech Supplying Materials For Virus Test Kits

Trinity Biotech recently upgrade some machinery to address the increasing need for COVID-19 test kits. Submitted photo

Just outside of Jamestown, Trinity Biotech produces plastic media transport tubes, which is a container used to store infectious disease test swabs for processing.

“We have seen a huge increase in demand to help support the COVID-19 testing,” said Dennis Lefler, operations manager for the Jamestown facility.

In order to address the increasing need for test kits, Lefler explained that the facility needed to upgrade some machinery. “We normally only have one filling line for this product as it requires an old dispensing unit that was custom built for us many years ago and the backup unit was not functioning.”

With amplified pressure to increase production of tubes, Lefler turned to his neighbor, Tim Piazza, a self-proclaimed geek and problem solver when it comes to machinery and all things manufacturing.

Lefler added, “I knew Tim had a lot of experience with this stuff, was really smart and knew a lot of people, and was perhaps someone who could help us.”

Coincidentally and unbeknownst to Lefler, Piazza works for the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier (MAST), a local resource for manufacturers that includes workforce development and advocacy. MAST is also helping local manufacturers weather the COVID-19 storm. Piazza took a look, made some alterations, and got the unit functioning. He also put Lefler in touch with a local fabricator who was able to make some necessary parts for the machinery.

“MAST exists to assist local manufacturing. I’m thrilled we were able to help Trinity expand their capacity quickly,” said Piazza. “It may be clichÈ, but we can do so much more together, and you never know when help is literally just around the corner.”

Along with a national hood supplier who sent a new laminar flow hood, with Trinity Biotech was able to get a second filling line running in order to double their manufacturing capacity.

Trinity’s Jamestown facility is also close to completing the development of an ELISA test in response to COVID-19. Also known as an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay test, ELISA detects antibodies specific to a particular antigen, in this case the novel coronavirus. The company will follow-up with a Rapid antibody test soon thereafter.

While a timeframe for final approval is unknown, the tests are being expedited due to the national emergency and will be launched in all of Trinity’s major markets as soon as possible. Such a test, which is fast, has high sensitivity, and specificity is crucial to understanding and controlling the spread of COVID-19.

In reference to living and working in Chautauqua County, Lefler said, “We’re a company that has been here for more than 25 years and we are like a family.

We have a stable workforce and long-term employees who easily pull together in a crisis. We take care of each other.”

Mark Geise, Deputy County executive for economic development and CEO of the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency said, “This is just another example of a company that is pivoting to address the needs created by the COVID-19 crisis. I want to commend the Trinity Biotech Team along with Tim Piazza from MAST for making this happen.”

Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel said, “While my main priority is dealing with this health crisis, I am also very concerned for the short and long-term sustainability of our businesses. Trinity, along with a multitude of other companies, is alive and well and I commend them for doing their part to deal with this crisis while remaining economically viable.”

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