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Pandemic Response Lab (PRL) Launches 4 U.S. COVID-19 Testing Hubs To Get Children Back To School Safely, Affordably

Brooklyn, New York – March 23, 2021 – The Pandemic Response Lab (PRL)–the leading lab capable of simultaneous school “pool testing,” variant tracking and individual testing–today announced the launch of four major national COVID-19 testing hubs to help ALL children return to the classroom safely. The four hubs, operated by Opentrons Labworks Inc., will be located at PRL’s existing lab in New York City and in three new labs opening in Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles, CA; and Seattle, WA.

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PRL, an advanced diagnostic lab, also announced that it has a program to provide pool testing for its school testing partners for only $25 per test, with results that can be delivered in under 12 hours. For a 25-student classroom, that is as low as $1 per child – the lowest in-lab cost in the nation – ensuring widespread availability of the service and fast, accurate results. In addition to schools, PRL’s pool testing is available to cities, states, counties, and major employers.

“The last year has been nearly impossible for most families to navigate,” said Jonathan Brennan-Badal, CEO of Opentrons. “The Pandemic Response Lab (PRL) is the solution American families need to get our kids back in school safely, equitably, and efficiently. By using our advanced robotics technology and cutting-edge genome sequencing, we are able to do what no other lab can do – provide fast, accurate testing, variant tracking, and the lowest-on-the-market cost for in-lab school pool testing services. By offering these low price in-lab services, we are providing the affordable testing solution for schools – regardless of their location or the wealth of the surrounding areas.”

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“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed all of our lives forever, and New York City has been on the front lines of the fight,” said Dr. Jay Varma, Senior Advisor for Public Health for the Office of the Mayor of New York City. “We are deeply grateful for our partnership with the Pandemic Response Lab. Without its great work, the City would not have been able to create the nation’s largest testing and tracing program, with tests that are rapid, accurate, and affordable. The news today that they plan to make individual and pooled testing even more affordable will have a major impact on getting children and staff back to school safely.”

“I have run one of the largest public health programs in the country and I can tell you that the Pandemic Response Lab (PRL) expansion will change the game in how we fight this deadly virus,” said Jennifer Kent, former Director of the California Department of Health Care Services. “PRL has significantly advanced the way testing, variant tracing and school pooling are done – all in one place, all in rapid time with extreme accuracy at the lowest cost on the market – in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Seattle. This increased testing capacity means we can finally get our children back to school safely, and our society and economy back on solid ground.”


At each hub, PRL is partnering with school testing coordinators and leading health diagnostic companies to collect samples from schools. These samples are then sent to PRL for in-lab school pool testing and variant tracking services.

PRL’s testing is:

— Highly accurate: Up to 25% more sensitive than industry benchmark PCR tests.

— Fast: 99% of PCR results are provided in 24 hours or less, compared to the 48- to 72- hour industry average.

— Affordable: PRL offers its partners a range of volume-based testing solutions, including $25 per pool test of up to 25 students, or just $1 per child – costing up to 50% less than the national average.

— Proven technology: PRL has already processed more than 2 million tests for the people of New York since October 2020. And PRL is now testing more than 120,000 students and educators each month.

Pool testing is a cost-effective tool that allows schools to widely test students, faculty and support staff, quickly determine if COVID-19 is present, and then follow up to identify any positive individuals and conduct rapid contact tracing and mitigation steps. PRL’s genome sequencing can also tell a school if a dangerous variant is present, providing a critical piece of information in shaping the community’s response.

In addition to launching its new testing hubs in New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Seattle, Opentrons is exploring opening labs in other communities around the country.


Using Opentrons’s advanced robotics technology, PRL provides fast and accurate COVID-19 testing at a low cost to government agencies, hospitals, businesses and schools. The PRL also conducts large-scale genome sequencing to track COVID-19 variants and identify potentially dangerous new mutations.

In partnership with the New York City government, Opentrons opened its first PRL in New York last fall and has been providing testing and variant detection for the city, area hospitals and other clients ever since.

In February 2021, the New York lab discovered the first case of B1.351, the South African variant of COVID-19, in a New York State resident. The lab has also been tracking the spread of the U.K. variant and other mutations, and delivering real-time alerts to health authorities.

PRL is conducting 30,000 to 50,000 PCR tests every day at its New York City lab, with capacity increasing to more than 500,000 tests as it opens more labs around the country.

Opentrons can open a PRL in 30-45 days in most parts of America and the world. The company specializes in manufacturing innovative robotics automation solutions for health care. Its products are used in more than 3,000 labs in more than 40 countries.


Photos and b-roll video of the PRL New York City lab, including footage of the Opentrons robots conducting PCR tests, can be viewed and downloaded here.

Photo and b-roll opportunities at the PRL Washington, D.C. lab can be scheduled upon request.

Infographic with key FAQs and stats can be downloaded here.


Media seeking interviews with PRL leadership and scientists, or interested in visiting either the New York or Washington, D.C. labs, should contact Steve Posner at [email protected] or 202-827-9688.

Schools and partners interested in learning more about PRL’s testing capabilities and availability should visit