Texas Tech COVID-19 testing lab serves 67 counties - FOX34 Lubbock

Texas Tech COVID-19 testing lab serves 67 counties

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

A testing shortage faces the nation among a growing pandemic.

But Texas Tech is leading the way for COVID-19 testing in Texas.

"I use the word extraordinary for collaborations that have occurred that were not in place prior to the pandemic," Lorin Rice-Spearman director of Texas Tech Health Sciences Center.

Answering the call of the CDC, the biological safety lab or BSL3 at Reese Technology Center transformed from a research lab into clinical one.

"Here in Lubbock, what we're doing is we're having samples collected, those samples are stored and then transferred to the lab. When they get to the lab they go through what we call the 'intake process.' They're very carefully tagged and labeled, so that we can follow that specimen through it's entire testing phase."

The lab serves 67 counties.

Rice-Spearman, explains why, in part, there was a delay in testing for the new virus.


"When this outbreak occurred there was really only one FDA approved test that we were allowed to use, and that's the test we're using," Rice-Spearman said. "Now then, the good news is that since then, there have been other tests that are coming online very quickly, that are going to allow us to hopefully expand our capacity of testing and also our ability to test at a much quicker rate."

To get a lab up and running, it usually takes about 4 to 6 months, but this testing center was ready to go in just one week.

"We were able to come immediately online and begin testing," Dr. Steve Presley, director of the lab said.


The lab started testing samples in late February, the first of 10 testing sites in the state of Texas.

Rice-Spearman says it was a team effort. 


"This entire pandemic experience has really on a positive note, allowed us to collaborate in ways we've never collaborated before. Really trying to be innovative and creative in how we're solving problems."

She also says this gives her hope, for future possibilities at Tech.

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