April 6, 2020
As you are aware, one of the major challenges across the country is the lack of availability of sufficient reagents to keep up with the volume of test samples coming into sentinel laboratories like TTU's BSL-3 facility. There is a huge difference in the turn-around time for samples being run at our BSL-3 laboratory, compared with those being run in remote commercial laboratories. Obtaining timely test results is important not only for defining treatment options, but also for identifying active cases in order to contain the spread of the virus.
The CDC has just come out with guidelines to allow the use of another viral RNA extraction kit in COVID-19 testing. These kits, which are more commonly used for extraction of flu virus samples, are identified as QIAamp Viral RNA Mini Kit Cat.# 52906. Steve Presley already identified about 40 of these kits in his own research laboratory. If your laboratory has any spare kits that are not expired, please contact Matt Roe and David Dorsett. They will make arrangements with you to pick up the kits and transfer them to the testing center in an appropriate manner. Given the fact that we are still struggling to identify a reliable supply of test reagents, this could prove incredibly important in the coming days.
I want to compliment all of the laboratories who came together over the past week to share PPE with healthcare first responders. As you may have heard, we collected over a hundred thousand gloves, several thousand face masks, and a number of disposable gowns and face shields. The response from the TTU research community has been tremendous! I am extremely proud of and thankful for all of you!! Keep up the great work, and keep yourselves and your families safe.
Vice President for Research and Innovation