Texas A&M University System hopes to help in testing patients for COVID-19


AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Department of Health and Human Services usually requires people with human lab experience to oversee human testing such as those involving COVID-19. However, the Texas A&M University System’s Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL) is seeking a waiver in light of the pandemic. 

Dr. Gayman Helman, the resident director for the Amarillo TVMDL lab says, “We felt that we could provide some assistance performing that single test to help with that backload, I mean last year alone, in our lab here, we performed some 60,000-plus of these same type of tests.”

On Monday, the lab in college station began limited human testing, but with that waiver, the lab could run as many as 2100 samples in a day. Many of those could be run right here in Amarillo.

“Here in Amarillo alone we could run in the area of 400 a day, we could do that here,” says Dr. Helman. “College Station is probably going to have a greater capacity and actually they got there stuff worked out to work with a local hospital there in college station to start their testing which they’re in the process of beginning.”

Also starting this week for the Texas A&M System, Texas A&M’s chancellor has offered $2.5-million to ensure that testing involving a century-old tuberculosis vaccine called BCG, which may be able to help treat covid-19, can proceed as quickly as possible.

Dr. Jeffrey D. Cirillo, with Texas A&M College of Medicine says, “This allows us to buy time until something can be developed.”

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