Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to Donate COVID-19 Sampling Kits to Corpus Christi – Nueces County Public Health District

By Luisa Buttler | Published: April 02, 2020

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to Donate COVID-19 Sampling Kits to Corpus Christi – Nueces County Public Health District

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 City-County Health District is currently the only entity in Nueces County conducting a drive-through, appointment-only clinic for individuals who demonstrate symptoms linked to COVID-19, or the Coronavirus.

“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.”

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 and consist of a swab, a vial with transport media to preserve the sample in the vial, and a bag.

“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.”

Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp said the veterinary experts who track disease outbreaks in animals were ready to assist with the current human pandemic.

“No one has ever done this before, but tough times call for creative measures,” said Sharp.

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.

“We hope to get these sampling kits in the hospitals or clinics where they are most needed as soon as possible,” Akey said. “We are pulling out all the stops.”