Image of the Day: Viral Transport Rescue
Image of the Day: Viral Transport Rescue

Image of the Day: Viral Transport Rescue

The University of Massachusetts Amherst is supplying local hospitals and the state with key ingredients needed for COVID-19 testing.

Amy Schleunes
Amy Schleunes
Apr 20, 2020

ABOVE: Volunteers label test tubes of transport medium that will be distributed to hospitals.
JAMES CHAMBERS, DIRECTOR OF THE LIGHT MICROSCOPY AND CELL CULTURE CORE FACILITIES AT UMASS AMHERST'S INSTITUTE FOR APPLIED LIFE SCIENCES

As COVID-19 spread in the US and test kits were in short supply, several hospitals reached out to the University of Massachusetts Amherst in search of viral transport solution, which “ensure[s] that the virus collected from patients doesn’t break down before we’re able to test it,” explains Michael Daley of the university’s Cell Culture Core Facility in a video.

Researchers there sprung into action. Barbara Osborne, an immunologist in the department of veterinary and animal sciences, said she had stockpiles of the needed media, Daley explains in the video. Daley’s lab had a number of the reagents, and after they recruited a few other labs, it took them only a week to make a batch of the solution, test it, and distribute it to local hospitals.

The process has now been streamlined, Daley says in the video, and Osborne tells The Scientist in an email that they made 12,000 tubes last week and further increased their production this week.

Tubes of viral transport solution prepared by labs at the University of Massachusetts Amherst
James Chambers, director of the Light Microscopy and Cell Culture Core Facilities at UMass Amherst’s Institute for Applied Life Sciences