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Friday, May 20th, 2022

Rep. Katko asks Biden to utilize NY medical expertise in public health response to Omicron surge

© SUNY Upstate Medical University

Citing the surge in Omicron cases nationwide, U.S. Rep. John Katko (R-NY) urged President Joe Biden to use research and technology from academic medical centers in Central New York, like SUNY Upstate Medical University, to guide the nation’s public health response and to improve testing.

In a letter Wednesday, Katko touted SUNU Upstate Medical University’s efforts to develop COVID-19 antibody testing and called the President to integrate its technology into the Administration’s national testing strategy. SUNY Upstate’s tests use saliva instead of a blood draw to detect trace amounts of COVID-19 antibodies following vaccination or infection, which would allow public health officials to inform better protocols and guidance regarding vaccination timing, isolation instructions, and other public health measures, the senator said.

“In Central New York, medical centers like SUNY Upstate Medical University have been on the forefront of our COVID-19 response. SUNY Upstate has lent its expertise to guide our public health response and pioneered the best COVID-19 antibody test,” Katko said. “As new COVID-19 variants emerge and cases rise, I urged President Biden to look to local medical centers like SUNY Upstate for guidance and technology that can improve our nation’s public health response and testing strategy. I also called on the President to commit to passing bipartisan policies like my bipartisan COVID-19 and Pandemic Response Centers of Excellence Act to ensure medical centers in Central New York have the resources they need to advance vital COVID-19 research.”

The senator also called for bipartisan policies to provide additional resources to academic medical centers like SUNY Upstate and prioritize innovative technologies to enable stable economic recovery.