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Initiative doubles FAMU's COVID-19 testing capabilities with creation of new lab

FAMU receives $26.3 million additional federal stimulus funding
Posted at 12:25 PM, Oct 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-08 17:14:19-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Thanks to a donation of diagnostic equipment, test kits and related supplies, FAMU is opening a new COVID-19 testing lab that will have capacity to provide free PCR-based COVID-19 testing for all university faculty, staff and students.

The university announced the donation from the Thermo Fisher Scientific Initiative's "The Just Project" on Thursday, which is designed to support no-cost COVID-19 testing for students, faculty and staff throughout the 2020-2021 school year.

The partnership doubles testing capacity at the university and shortens the results turn around time to 48 hours.

As part of that, FAMU has also agreed to serve as a testing hub to process samples from other HBCUs in the region, including Bethune-Cookman University, Edward Waters College and Florida Memorial University.

“Florida A&M University is committed to testing our constituents during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said FAMU President Larry Robinson, Ph.D. “This partnership with Thermo Fisher allows us much needed testing capacity to help protect our students, faculty and staff as well as those at our fellow HBCUs in Florida.”

While FAMU's COVID-19 testing site at Bragg Memorial Stadium remains open at this time, it is state-operated, so the university has no control of when it shuts down.

University officials say the Thermo Fisher initiative allows FAMU to develop its own testing infrastructure and have control over its own testing operation to safeguard the health of students, faculty and staff.

FAMU is still working out the details as far as an on-campus location for people to come get swabbed. The lab is expected to be operational within a few weeks.