AMES, Iowa- The State's Hygienic Lab in Iowa City is getting some help with COVID-19 testing from Iowa State University's Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, in Ames.
The ISU Vet Diagnostic Lab (VDL) does more than a million tests each year, on livestock, poultry, and pets. Officials say their tools, techniques and analysis are now being used to help support human coronavirus testing, at the Hygienic Lab, which is being conducted around the clock.
Iowa State University News Services reached out to several officials within the College of Veterinary Medicine, including VDL Director of Operations, Rodger Main, who says they have shared the lab's extraction techniques, instrumentation and the reagents needed for analysis.
Dr. Karen Harmon, clinical associate professor in the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, says the partnership has expanded the hygienic lab's ability to run tests.
“This means the hygienic lab is in a much better position to ramp up testing as needed,” Harmon said. “To have the opportunity to help a human testing lab in this way has been very rewarding for us.”
VDL Executive Director Pat Halbur says the lab, which diagnoses emerging diseases in veterinary medicine, uses the same tools and techniques for human medicine.
“It’s our mission to protect animal and public health, and we want to do everything we can to assist during this global pandemic,” Halbur said. “This is a good example of Iowans coming together to find solutions to our most pressing problems.”
The collaboration between VDL and the hygienic lab was facilitated by leaders in Gov. Kim Reynolds’ office and the Iowa Economic Development Authority.
"We're incredibly grateful to Governor Reynolds, IEDA and Iowa State for helping us supplement our equipment inventory," said Mike Pentella, director of the State Hygienic Laboratory. "With our staff working around the clock, this will allow us to deliver results for more tests more quickly, allowing for the best possible outcomes for Iowans."