A MESSAGE REGARDING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Limited Research Start Up

The Stowers Institute for Medical Research has begun a minimal restart to research operations with the return of a limited number of members to campus. The Institute is operating with social distancing requirements, infection control measures, and surveillance testing. Stowers Members who are able to work from home will continue to do so. The campus remains closed to non-essential visitors.

 

COVID-19 Automated Testing Method

The Stowers Institute is in the process of developing an automated version of the Centers for Disease Control’s COVID-19 test, a polymerase chain reaction or PCR-based test which detects the genetic material for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The scientists at the Institute have added automation to a well-established protocol in order to increase throughput and decrease the labor required.

In the near future, the Institute intends to apply to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). The authorization may be received as early as the fall. The Stowers Institute expects to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Jackson County as provided in the Emergency Declaration issued by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in March. The MOU will authorize the Institute’s testing program and support making the Institute’s procedures freely available to others who wish to replicate them and create a testing program.

Although the Institute will not be offering testing services to the general public, it wishes to provide help to others by sharing the protocol for this automated method with any interested parties. The Institute hopes that sharing this method will play an important role in slowing the spread of the virus in our region.