B1G announces partners for daily antigen testing

When the Big Ten brought back fall football, the conference said it was all possible because of advances in daily antigen testing.

On Wednesday — the day the conference was slated to begin daily testing for COVID-19 league-wide — the Big Ten announced its partners in the testing venture.

According to a release, Quidel Corporation will provide the daily antigen tests, while the company Biodesix will oversee and manage the onsite testing. Biodesix will also validate results from positive antigen tests with its PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test.

Along with the announcement of a partner, the Big Ten further clarified that all athletes from close-contact sports will undergo daily testing, which usually means sports like soccer, basketball, wrestling, and volleyball. Maxim Healthcare Staffing Services, a contractor for Biodesix, will administer the Quidel tests on-site before every practice or game, the release said.

In the event of a positive result, which is then confirmed by PCR, each university‚Äôs Chief Infection Officer will report the case to the medical subcommittee of the Big Ten Conference’s Return to Competition Task Force, according to the release. An athlete can return to competition no earlier than 21 days after a positive test.

All athletes who test positive will also undergo cardiac screening before they return to competition.

Indiana, in particular, has been testing football players daily with the university’s own supply of antigen tests since the Big Ten announced the restart of the season in mid-September. IU coach Tom Allen said 1,200 tests have yielded just one positive result thus far, and it wasn’t a player or full-time staff member.

Once the Big Ten started mandatory testing for the entire conference, the Hoosiers were slated to switch over to those tests. As has now been revealed, those tests will be the  Quidel Sofia 2 SARS Antigen FIA test.