Omaha research company studying improved COVID-19 testing, treatment

QCR expanding into Florence neighborhood hoping to increase minority participation
As COVID-19 cases ramp up, local researchers are studying an improved saliva test for the virus.
Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 10:29 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A local research clinic is continuing to test new ways to treat and combat the spread of COVID-19 while working on ways to increase participation from minority communities.

Quality Clinical Research would like to get more minorities involved in the process and hope to accomplish that by spreading out into the community.

We’ve all seen the long lines of people waiting — sometimes for hours — to get a COVID-19 test.

Right now, QCR is working on a saliva COVID-19 test, according to Company Vice president Seneca Harrison.

“It’s a company out of Europe, and what it looks like is a popsicle stick that has cotton on the end of it,” Harrison said. “You will suck on that, insert it into this machine, and it will tell you if you’re COVID positive or negative.”

At the end of the month, QCR will begin trials to develop treatment for people who have mild cases of COVID-19. Doctors tell 6 News a lot of COVID-19 cases caused by the highly contagious omicron variant are mild.

In an effort to see more minorities participate in the research process, Harrison is expanding QCR clinics into different parts of the community. He’s put a clinic in the Florence area of Omaha, hoping to get more African-Americans involved.

“COVID showed a light that diversity is key — especially in drug development. And so my idea is, if people have to travel far to get in these clinical trials, it seems that they won’t travel. But if they can go down the street in their own neighborhood, they’re more apt to participate in these trials,” Harrison said.

“I think it’s going to be a great step in the right direction but ultimately we have to keep chipping away at all these things that have created challenges for our communities of color and especially black people as it relates to healthcare,” said Kenney McMorris, CEO of Charles Drew Health Center.

Harrison plans to do a great deal of work in the north Omaha area to fight the spread of COVID-19.

“All our COVID treatments and COVID studies will be done at the Florence location,” Harrison said.

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