A laboratory in Purdue's College of Veterinary Medicine is working with a Fort Wayne hospital system to conduct coronavirus testing for human subjects, according to a Purdue press release.
Testing started after Purdue's Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory received certification for human diagnostic testing and Parkview Health agreed to provide clinical oversight. This happened days after Purdue leaders suggested using the ADDL to address Indiana's limited testing capabilities, per the release.
The release also states that testing will expand to partner hospitals, and all samples will be sent directly to the ADDL. Hospitals interested in working with the ADDL should fill out a "partnership inquiry form" to help prevent testing backlog.
The stated goal is to ensure that results are turned around the same day the lab receives samples.
“The College of Veterinary Medicine has a long history of providing services to protect animal and human health,” said Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine Willie Reed in the release. “Providing COVID-19 testing is yet another way to support the citizens of Indiana during this unprecedented public health crisis.
"The project was shepherded by David Broecker (chief innovation and collaboration officer) of the Purdue Research Foundation and involves several partners including the foundation, the Indiana State Department of Health, Parkview Hospital (and) the Purdue community.”
Director of the ADDL, Dr. Kenitra Hendrix, said in the release that the lab's expertise in working on immunity surveillance and infectious disease testing for animals gives the ADDL a special chance to help with Indiana's COVID-19 outbreak. She noted that the lab tests samples using a polymerase chain reaction method, with intake and sample processing procedures adjusted to work with humans.
“Our team has worked diligently to prepare to perform this testing,” Hendrix said in the release. “It is rewarding to be able to take on this role in support of the citizens of our state.”
Indiana State Health Commissioner Kris Box mentioned in a recent press conference with Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb that though the state's resources for testing are limited, the state is working to better prepare for its patients.
“Indiana continues to increase our capabilities and preparedness for rapidly testing patients to support our front-line health care workers,” Box said in the release. “We are grateful to Purdue and the ADDL for helping to make testing more available for Hoosiers who are helping others during this pandemic.”
Chief Academic Research Officer at Parkview Health Dr. Michael Mirro further praised Purdue's efforts in the release.
“It still takes several days to get results that are sent out to central labs across the country,” Mirro said. “Even the new tests are limited by supply constraints. What Purdue has done is fantastic and shows the ingenuity associated with creative problem solving. Paired with the significant amount of time invested by the Parkview lab team, we believe this will have a positive impact on the state’s testing capacity.”