Oklahoma State University’s (OSU) Diagnostic Laboratory has completed its validation and verification procedures and is now operational as an approved COVID-19 diagnostic lab, dramatically increasing Oklahoma’s testing capabilities. The lab does not test individuals for the virus, but rather analyzes samples sent by health care providers.
The OSU lab processed and analyzed the first samples delivered Tuesday evening. Using Thermo Fisher diagnostic machines, the lab is capable of analyzing more than 2,000 samples per day with a maximum 24-hour turnaround from receipt of the sample.
“When confronted with a challenge to help our state fight this virus, researchers and faculty from the main OSU campus in Stillwater and OSU Medicine in Tulsa focused their attention, collaborated across disciplines and thought innovatively to find a solution to accelerate testing in Oklahoma,” said OSU President Burns Hargis. “Their efforts will help our state navigate this unprecedented public health event more successfully.”
Dr. Kenneth Sewell, OSU vice president for research, said the lab is quickly ramping up its testing capabilities and capacity to meet the needs of the state for increased testing to blunt the spread of the virus.
“Increased testing results will give public health officials a more accurate and realistic picture of the COVID-19 infection situation as the number of positive cases rise in Oklahoma. Improved data will help public health officials make more informed decisions to treat patients, protect health care workers and reduce the impact of this pandemic on the public,” Sewell said.
A medical courier service will deliver samples from health care providers across the state to the OSU lab to be analyzed by trained technicians. OSU has developed a website for health care providers who would like more information on submitting samples at okstate.edu/coronavirus/laboratory-resources.html.
“Our faculty and staff responded immediately to the challenge,” Sewell said. “I have been impressed and inspired with how the OSU family stepped up to do our part to fight this virus.
“At OSU, we take seriously our land grant mission to provide education, research and service to the entire state and beyond. Bringing our capabilities together in response to the COVID-19 pandemic represents how we live out our mission.”
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