COVID-19 testing capacity increased to 1,000 daily for UTRGV

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UT Health RGV is increasing the number of COVID-19 tests it can process in-house via an automated extraction machine, called the Thermo Fisher Kingfisher Flex. The automation will allow the lab to process up to 1,000 tests each day, rather than the 150 possible with manual testing. (Courtesy UTRGV)

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas – According to a release, UTRGV is increasing the number of COVID-19 tests it can process from 150 to 1,000 daily.

The release attributes this increase to an automated extraction machine called the Thermo Fisher Kingfisher Flex.

The Thermo Fisher Kingfisher Flex (pictured) and COVID-19 testing are housed in the UTRGV School of Medicine, which established a diagnostic lab specifically for COVID-19 testing purposes that has been active since April 1. (Courtesy UTRGV)

“The Kingfisher will dramatically expand our testing capacity,” said Dr. John Thomas, assistant professor in the Department of Human Genetics at the UTRGV School of Medicine and director of the UT Health RGV Clinical Laboratory, “It will help us support the local, county, regional and state demands for testing to meet the federal guidelines for reopening the state economy and getting Texas back to a more normal setting.”

Previously UTRGV could only run 150 samples per day with manual extraction, said the release.

Dr. John H. Krouse, Dean of the UTRGV School of Medicine and executive vice president for Health Affairs also said that they are looking to bring antibody testing and contract tracing capabilities to UTRGV as quickly as possible.

You can schedule an appointment to be screened for COVID-19 by calling 1-833-UTRGVMD, they have four drive-thru testing sites located in Edinburg, Mercedes, Harlingen, and Brownsville.

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