Wisconsin-based health system develops its own COVID-19 tests

Source: CDC via MGN
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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WMTV) -- The La Crosse-based Gunderson Medical Foundation announced Saturday that its Microbiology Research Laboratory created its own test for COVID-19 test and it will be able to produce the results in-house, meaning that patients could learn the results more quickly.

"Having the testing available in-house allows us to provide rapid turnaround test results, which is especially important when the patient is seriously ill or when rapid testing of close contacts are warranted," Steven M. Callister, PhD, who works at the Laboratory, said.

Gunderson says the test was developed based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines based on the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization protocol.

Since Thursday evening, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse faculty and staff have been working to procure items needed to run the tests, the health system explained in a release. So far, it has collected enough supplies to run thousands of coronavirus tests.

"We know and work with the researchers at Gundersen and we had the supplies they needed," Scott Cooper, UW-L director of Undergraduate Research said. "We can't do any research for the next few months and anything we can do to help get more COVID-19 tests done in the community the better."

Gunderson noted that UW-L had a large number of supplies for extracting RNA from samples that its faculty and students use molecular biology research and getting RNA from test samples is an important step in testing for COVID-19.