OSU lab hoping to map spread of COVID-19

OSU lab testing

OSU lab testing

STILLWATER, Okla. (KFOR) – An innovative effort between two campuses at Oklahoma State University is allowing the college to play a key role in the state’s fight against COVID-19.

OSU’s main Stillwater campus has teamed up with OSU Medicine in Tulsa to run the test analysis for COVID-19 .

“OSU’s research and medical campuses came together to activate a lab capable of testing more than 2,000 samples a day. We’re honored to help the entire state through our combined resources,” said Johnny Stephens, chief operating officer and senior vice president of OSU Medicine.

In a matter of days, 10,000 test kits were ordered and three more Thermo Fisher diagnostic machines were purchased.

“We were fortunate that we had equipment already up and running that works with this particular test, and we had the ability to marshal forces during a stressful time,” he said. “We have a flexible mindset – when we have a problem to solve, we solve it,” said Dr. Kenneth Sewell, OSU vice president for research.

Just 12 days after setting up the COVID-19 lab, OSU technicians processed the first 53 specimens. Three days later, health care providers were submitting more than 1,000 specimens a day.

“Increased testing will give public health officials a more accurate and realistic picture of COVID-19 in Oklahoma. Until now, the state has only had the capacity to deal with the situation on the level of the patient,” Sewell said. “We have to get to the next level of mapping the spread of the disease. That’s how you flatten the curve.”

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