TEXARKANA, Texas – Officials from Texas A&M University-Texarkana donated 55 COVID-19 test kits each to CHRISTUS St. Michael Hospital and Wadley Regional Medical Center on Wednesday, April 8th. The test kits were shipped to A&M-Texarkana from the Texas A&M University System, which shipped test kits to all 11 Texas A&M System universities in an effort to help combat the COVID-19 outbreak on a local level.
“We are so thankful for the many men and women in our medical community who are working on the front lines to take on this pandemic.” said A&M-Texarkana President Dr. Emily Cutrer. “We are happy to be able to contribute in some way and hope that these additional test kits make a difference for local patients.”
The kits consist of a swab, a vial with transport media to preserve the sample in the vial, and a bag. They usually cost about $4 to $5 if you were to order them in bulk before the pandemic swept through the existing stock. Now, these simple supplies are back-ordered for months, crippling efforts to test humans for COVID-19.
The viral sampling kits were made from supplies stored at four Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic laboratories across the state. Since the supplies can also be used on humans they were gathered into kits to be distributed throughout the Texas A&M University System. “No one has ever done this before, but tough times call for creative measures,” said John Sharp, chancellor of the Texas A&M University System.
Dr. Bruce Akey, director of the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory, said he sent out a plea for supplies to his labs in Amarillo, Center and Gonzales and they began overnighting the supplies late last week.
“We assembled the supplies into sampling kits here in our College Station lab,” Akey said. “We know that the 2,000 we came up with may not seem like much when there are 20-plus million Texans at risk that may need testing, but if you need to be tested and you can’t right now because they don’t have this kit then it’s a pretty big deal to you and your family. So we are doing what we can right now.”