OHSU built a COVID-19 testing lab in 2 weeks

Coronavirus

Scientists donated their time and skills while other researchers donated their unused materials

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Staff at OHSU have built an in-house COVID-19 testing lab that can identify positive cases within 36 hours. 

The lab took just two weeks to build, stock and staff. It opened for business on March 24, the Oregon Health & Science University said on Friday. Before its creation, the teaching hospital’s Marquam Hill campus in Portland had no clinical microbiology lab on site. 

OHSU said two world-class infectious disease experts helped to make the lab a reality: OHSU Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute Director Jay Nelson, Ph.D and Dan Streblow, Ph.D., an associate professor at the institute.  The researchers then teamed with OHSU’s Department of Pathology to create the new lab.

The lab is officially known as a Biosafety Level 2 laboratory. It’s located in a former lab on the south side of OHSU’s Marquam Hill campus. 

OHSU leaders issued a call for materials and volunteers. Researchers currently sidelined by state mandates donated their unused materials; scientists donated their time and skills. 

OHSU said the new lab started out testing only critically ill patients but, as time goes on, it will serve a broader group of people. It is also being used to screen patients before surgeries. 

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