CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi will donate approximately 100 COVID-19 testing kits to the Corpus Christi – Nueces County Public Health District.
The testing kits are for the Health District's use at the drive-through sample collection site for COVID-19 testing.
“We, at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, appreciate the dedication of those on the front lines working to keep our community safe,” said Dr. Kelly M. Miller, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi President and CEO. “Donating these much-needed test kits to the City of Corpus Christi and Nueces County is just one of the many ways Islanders are contributing to the planning, relief, and recovery efforts of COVID-19. We are grateful to be able to lend a hand to the community that supports us every day.”
According to a press release from the university, the viral sampling kits are expected to arrive at the City-County Health Department sometime next week and are courtesy of the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory in College Station. The kits were assembled from lab supplies usually reserved for pigs, cows and chickens at A&M’s four diagnostic labs across the state.
The kits consist of a swab, a vial with transport media to preserve the sample in the vial, and a bag. The components of the kits are approved by Food and Drug Administration and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for use in sampling humans for the COVID-19 virus.
“We have a limited number of kits, so this donation is amazing,” said Annette Rodriguez, City-County Health Director. “We are counting our kits every day, going into each week hoping we have enough to get us through. These kits from A&M-Corpus Christi, via the A&M System, are a big deal and we really appreciate it.”
Dr. Bruce Akey, director of the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory, said he sent out a plea for supplies to his labs in Amarillo, Center and Gonzales and they began overnighting the supplies late last week.
“We assembled the supplies into sampling kits here in our College Station lab,” Akey said. “We know that the 2,000 we came up with may not seem like much when there are 20-plus million Texans at risk that may need testing, but if you need to be tested and you can’t right now because they don’t have this kit then it’s a pretty big deal to you and your family. So we are doing what we can right now.”
The testing kids usually cost about $4 to $5 if ordered in bulk before the pandemic swept through the existing stock. Now, these simple supplies are back-ordered for months, crippling efforts to test humans for COVID-19.