Since early March 2020, the VMDL has been approached several times to assist with SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) testing. The VMDL has provided reagents, supplies and equipment to university and local hospitals and laboratories to increase testing capacity.
To support the governor’s Show-Me-Strong Recovery Plan and University of Missouri Show Me Renewal Plan, the VMDL has collaborated with MU Health Care to launch a VMDL-MUHC Covid-19 reference lab at Mizzou North. Both parties contribute expertise, personnel and equipment to this great project. The VMDL has provided two nucleic acid extraction units, three real-time PCR machines, and three testing personnel. VMDL faculty and staff have been working 12-hour days and seven days per week to validate PCR assays to ensure the accuracy and compliance to various regulations. The joint reference lab began testing samples on Aug. 17, 2020. The testing capacity is at least 1,500 samples per day. The goal of this joint lab is to ensure timely testing of MUHC patients, MU students and employees, and others, such as agricultural industry employees and nursing home residents. The joint reference lab is a great example of one health in action. The VMDL faculty and staff are fully dedicated to this project as they have been fighting disease outbreaks to protect animal health, the agricultural economy, and food security. The project received the highest support from CVM Dean Carolyn J. Henry and UM President and MU Chancellor Mun Choi.