(STILLWATER, Oklahoma - March 27, 2020) – Oklahoma State University is helping Oklahoma ramp up its COVID-19 testing capability after procuring supplies sufficient to analyze approximately 10,000 COVID-19 test samples being taken by health care professionals across the state.
Through coordination with partners from the OSU Center for Health Sciences, the lab has been certified by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services to run the tests for COVID-19. In partnership with the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), OSU’s certified diagnostic laboratory has the personnel and equipment to begin testing next week.
“Oklahoma State University has done incredible work to quickly find innovative ways to help our state significantly increase its COVID-19 testing capacity,” said Governor Kevin Stitt. “Secretary Shrum has been an invaluable member of my Governor’s Solution Task Force, and I commend President Hargis and her for answering the call to help their fellow Oklahomans.”
Individuals will need to get the initial swab administered by a medical professional. Health care providers will be notified by the OSDH next week regarding how to submit sample test samples.
“We are pleased to support the state’s extensive efforts to blunt the spread of this virus. I commend the innovation of our researchers and administrators to find ways we can use our experts and resources to overcome the challenges we face as this crisis evolves, ” said OSU President Burns Hargis. “Both OSU and OSU Center for Health Sciences experts are committed to doing our part to protect Oklahomans during this public health crisis.”
Dr. Kenneth Sewell, vice president for research at OSU, said the university is uniquely prepared to take part in the statewide effort to accelerate testing.
“We will be able to test hundreds of samples in an eight-hour shift,” he said. “If necessary, our lab can increase our capability to additional shifts.
“All of our universities in the state play different roles, but only a few of us are research universities and have this kind of equipment, have the faculty that are trained up in this with staff and graduate assistants. Everything they do at a research level is meant to have a positive impact on the public, but it’s a rare time when we can put that impact in play almost in real time. This is going to matter today and tomorrow, and we think that’s why we’re here.”
MEDIA NOTE: Pool video from OSU’s research lab in Stillwater is available for your use.