An 18-year-old high school senior has mobilized his medical knowledge as one of the youngest EMTs in Texas to open a mobile medical lab that can provide COVID-19 test results in just 15 minutes.
Taft Foley III of Houston says he co-founded Texas Mobile Medical Labs to counteract testing delays for the coronavirus.
“Getting this test to as many people as possible as fast as possible is essential,” he told Houston InnovationMap. “People need to know whether or not they need to stay home and if they’re at risk of spreading the virus to others.”
After finishing the Emergency Medical Technician course this summer in Corpus Christi, Foley told CBS affiliate KHOU he waited two hours to get tested for COVID-19 and another two weeks to get his results.
“While I was self-quarantining, I thought to myself, ‘There has to be a better way,’ and that’s when I decided to really do some research and that’s when I found 15-minute tests and got the idea to go to people,” he said.
He created a mobile COVID-19 testing lab that gets people COVID-19 test results within minutes — and he’s doing it while he's still in high school. https://t.co/UPXwQ0RWHn
— KHOU 11 News Houston (@KHOU) October 23, 2020
By August, Foley had his Texas Mobile Medical Labs van rolling. By Oct. 19, he had tested 500 people.
“We average about 30 tests a day, which is pretty good,” he said. “The other day, we actually ran out of tests for the very first time which I was very excited about.”
Foley performs both the nasal swab rapid antigen tests and sends patients results by text or email in 15 minutes, but has also partnered with Baylor Genetics Laboratories to provide Polymerase Chain Reaction tests (PCR) tests with results in 24-48 hours.
While the company does not accept insurance for the tests (range of $100-$150 per test), most insurance companies will reimburse some or all of the cost of the test.
The Kinkaid School senior has had to cut activities out like wrestling to launch his business. But the honor roll student and Eagle Scout tells Forbes he’s staying focused on his long-term goals, applying to “Harvard, Stanford, Princeton and Yale.”
“One day I want to be able to call myself Dr. Foley,” he said.