Veterinary Science News

NVDC labs conduct COVID-19 testing

Exterior photo of the School of Nebraska Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences building.

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Edwin Owusu transfers saliva samples to other tubes where the saliva will be treated and tested.
Craig Chandler / University Communication.
Edwin Owusu transfers saliva samples to other tubes where the saliva will be treated which kills any virus and the sample can be safely handled and tested for COVID-19. Saliva-based diagnostic testing program is managed by the university through lab space in the Veterinary Diagnostic Center.

When the University of Nebraska-Lincoln wanted to increase the ability to complete COVID-19 testing on campus, it tasked the Nebraska Veterinary Diagnostic Center (NVDC) with setting up a laboratory capable processing saliva samples.

Bruce Brodersen, NVDC director, said that meant outfitting lab space with equipment needed to conduct the SalivaDirect test, obtaining certification as a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) laboratory to allow testing of human samples, and adding personnel in sample receiving, sample processing and testing, and results verification.

Fortunately, the NVDC building, completed in 2017, was designed to include shell space for expansion. The unfinished space was quickly equipped to accommodate a major portion of the COVID-19 testing process. The reception area was shifted to provide a safe and isolated sample receiving area.

The mandatory testing program for students, faculty and staff, one part of the university’s plan to enable safe, in-person instruction, started in January 2021 prior to the start of the spring semester. Since then the NVDC lab has processed nearly 227,000 samples.