Local company Athena Esoterix offers same day RT-PCR test results for Chattanooga area locals, a solution for meeting testing requirements heading into the holiday travel season.
To get same day test results, pick up Athena’s at-home saliva collection kit from Fairyland Pharmacy, Signal Mountain Pharmacy, Hixson Pharmacy, Brainerd Pharmacy or from Athena’s facility at 175 Baylor School Road. Then register the test online, collect a specimen using a self-administered saliva collection device and return it to Athena. Receive the result via text and email the same day the laboratory receives the test if dropped off before 3 p.m. Tests associated with discretionary activities like travel or events cost $100. There are no upfront costs for symptomatic individuals or those with suspected exposures.
Walk-up appointments are also available for nasal or saliva self-collection Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. These also provide same day results.
Athena’s roots formed early in the COVID-19 pandemic when Baylor School instructors Dr. Elizabeth Forrester and Dr. Dawn Richards organized their research lab to handle needed COVID testing.
“In June of 2020, we agreed to continue testing to keep these tools and technologies available to our community,” Dr. Forrester said. “We also recognized the public health impacts of our work beyond COVID-19, getting results to providers and infectious disease experts faster, and providing more complex and more comprehensive information about pathogens and infections.”
In July 2021, Dr. Forrester and Dr. Richards formed Athena Esoterix to specialize in advanced molecular detection and microbial testing, empowering clinicians and enhancing patient care. In spring 2022, Athena will open a new expanded lab and office inside Riverfront Medical Center at The Bend. The nearest lab with similar technology is in Mobile, Al.
“We hope to continue tracking public health problems for local agencies and maintain the most cutting-edge technology right here in our region,” Dr. Forrester said. "With our technology alongside the amazing physicians, hospitals and teaching facilities we have here locally, we can move quickly to diagnose difficult cases, track infectious diseases and recommend specific treatments for challenging cases - such as people with compromised immune systems.”
Athena’s move to Riverfront Medical Center, the first new construction at The Bend, will give Athena 3,850 square feet of space, allowing for additional lab space plus more room for work stations and educational seminars and tours.
Noon Development will complete the Riverfront Medical building in 2022, and 2,025 square feet are still available for lease as part of Phase I. Phase II of the project will open more space for lease.
“It’s an honor to welcome Athena to our Riverfront Medical Center facility,” said Bob Elliott, president, Noon Development. “Their new space will help enable them to expand their work with extremely up to date medical innovations that will make a huge positive impact on our region and beyond.”