WSU to begin processing hundreds of human COVID-19 tests daily

WSU agriculture research raises question from faculty

PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University will soon begin processing hundreds of human COVID-19 tests.

The laboratory has been testing animals for COVID-19 since April.

RELATED: WSU laboratory begins testing animals for COVID-19

The expanded human testing is set to begin this week and researchers are expected to run as many as 2,000 COVID-19 tests per day for Eastern Washington.

“WSU is proud to be part of the effort to increase the testing capacity for the state of Washington, and in particular for the eastern part of the state,” said Guy Palmer, professor of pathology and infectious disease. “Testing is critical to curbing the transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19. It lets the individual know if they need to self-isolate, and as a community, it helps us judge if current public health measures are adequate.”

WSU will process diagnostic samples collected at multiple sites across the state. Range Health, the WSU-affiliated nonprofit that runs a mobile medical unit in rural areas, will also start collecting samples from people in smaller towns and communities.

The university will work with the state Department of Health and a private laboratory, Spokane-based Incyte Diagnostics, which will handle pre- and post-test analysis.

“WSU and Incyte Diagnostics were able to develop a partnership that allows for COVID testing to be done rapidly and locally,” said Patty Sipes, CEO of Incyte Diagnostics. “This partnership accelerates testing capacity and allows us to participate in a rapid response model necessary to support the communities we serve.”

In addition to the diagnostic samples, WSU will be able to process antibody tests. These tests show whether someone had the virus in the past.

The university has been certified to handle human sample testing and its proficiency has been evaluated by the state DOH.

READ: ‘We aren’t there yet’: Gov. Inslee pauses ability for counties to progress to phase 4

RELATED: Businesses required to turn away customers without masks under expanded statewide order