High Demand for COVID-19 Tests in Missouri Leads to Collaboration for Faster Test Results

    By Kathleen Berger, Executive Producer for Science & Technology in collaboration with MU Health Care  

    As the high demand for COVID-19 testing causes long wait times for results, the University of Missouri creates a solution to speed things up. A new Mizzou lab can now process tests on-site, rather than send the samples to a private company. Patients are notified of test results within 24 hours.

    “It’s important because it’s going to increase our capacity to serve our community,” said Simone Camp, laboratory services manager for MU Health Care.

    First, test swabs are made at the University of Missouri College of Engineering, and now MU’s College of Veterinary Medicine is part of a collaboration bringing together experts in public health, engineering and veterinary medicine. MU College of Veterinary Medicine contributed lab equipment and other machines.

    “It’s a natural marriage, I think, between human medicine and veterinary medicine, especially when a lot of these diseases cross species,” said Carolyn Henry, DVM, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Missouri. “We’re hoping that this is just the start of this sort of collaboration and a One Health laboratory, to where the next pandemic, we won’t have to pivot and try to get ready for something. We’ll already have that in place. And that’s critically important, not just to our state, but to the nation.”

    The Mizzou laboratory is helping MU Health Care meet current and future needs in a cost-effective way.

    “It eliminates any issues that we might have with transporting specimens so that we can keep them cold,” said Camp. “We can get them quicker to the testing laboratory. It will increase our throughput and our faster turnaround time.”

    Processing tests for around 1,500 patients each day, the lab is capable of handling even more.

    “It is important for us to create testing, processing and communication efficiencies that will help us ensure continued rapid test results,” said Brad Myers, executive director of pharmacy and laboratory services at MU Health Care. “We are confident that, barring any national supply chain issues, we will be able to meet the testing needs of the community in a timely fashion.”