The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is partnering with Carle Health and state agencies to enable thousands of additional COVID-19 tests to be performed locally and throughout Illinois.
Through extensive collaboration with Carle Health, the University of Illinois has delivered laboratory machines and sent personnel to Carle to assist processing patient test samples. The university has also used its laboratories to manufacture liquid components necessary to test patients for the COVID-19 virus, including buffered saline and viral transfer media (VTM), an essential mix of buffers, nutrients, and antimicrobials used to preserve test samples. As a result of these efforts, patients at Carle, OSF Healthcare, and Christie Clinic have seen their wait times significantly reduced, with many receiving results of their COVID-19 tests within 24 hours.
The University of Illinois has also partnered with the Illinois Department of Public Health and Illinois Emergency Management Agency to ramp up COVID-19 testing across the state. The partnership calls for VTM produced at the university to be delivered to the Illinois Department of Public Health in Springfield. The university will produce enough VTM to support up to 10,000 tests per week.
Additionally, a team at the University of Illinois is developing designs for nasopharyngeal swabs, also in short supply, which are used to collect test samples from patients’ nasal passages. In collaboration with Carle Diagnostic Labs, the team designed a swab that is currently undergoing testing at Carle Health and Illinois Department of Public Health. If approved, laboratories in Roger Adams Lab are prepared to produce up to 300,000 swabs to help deal with the COVID-19 crisis.