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Virginia Tech Schiffert Health Center Molecular Diagnostics Lab

Virginia Tech Schiffert Health Center Molecular Diagnostics Lab

Expanding Southwest Virginia's COVID-19 public health lab capacity in partnership with the Virginia Department of Health

COVID-19 Testing Laboratory Equipment

"Virginia Tech did a phenomenal thing by converting a research lab to a clinical lab so they could partner with public health agencies and help expand public health testing capacity for COVID-19 in Southwest Virginia."

- Paige Bordwine, Southwest Virginia Regional Epidemiologist, Virginia Department of Health

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The Virginia Tech Schiffert Health Center Molecular Diagnostics Lab, located at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute, launched on April 20, 2020 to help expand public health lab testing capacity in Southwest Virginia. The lab receives samples from health departments and does not collect samples for testing directly from patients or facilities. Please visit this link for a list of testing sites in Virginia.

Virginia Tech students may seek testing at the Schiffert Health Center

“With expanded testing crucial to controlling the pandemic, in Virginia and the nation, Virginia Tech faculty, staff and graduate students went to work to answer the challenge," said Michael Friedlander, Virginia Tech's vice president for health sciences and technology and executive director of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC, who coordinated the university's COVID-19 testing efforts.

Health districts in Southwest Virginia send coded and deidentified samples to the Virginia Tech lab for analysis. The samples are processed by researchers at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute in Roanoke, Virginia using a quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) protocol to detect the virus’s genetic material. The labs can often provide results in 24 to 48 hours.

First, the lab distributes sample collection vials to health departments. The sample is collected and placed in a vial by the health care provider or health department. All samples are coded and labeled to protect confidential patient information before being sent to Virginia Tech, where lab personnel isolate the coronavirus RNA for analysis. The lab reports results to the health department using a special REDCap report designed specifically for use by Virginia Tech researchers. This report matches the sample code to the correct patient. The health department then contacts the patient or clinician with the results and does appropriate public health follow-up.

The lab is not a testing location open to the general public. Please contact your local health department to inquire about testing and submitting samples to the lab:

Virginia Tech students may seek testing at the Schiffert Health Center

The Molecular Diagnostics Lab is currently receiving samples for analysis from the following health districts: Roanoke-Alleghany, Mount Rogers, New River Valley, and West Piedmont.

Patients who suffered an adverse effect as a result of the testing procedure may report it to the FDA online.

For more information about Virginia Tech's response to COVID-19, please visit the university's COVID-19 Overview and Resource Center website

Please refer to the following sites for information about COVID-19 safety and prevention measures:

Virginia Tech Schiffert Health Center COVID-19 Laboratory

CLIA #49D0016288

Michael Friedlander, Ph.D.

Virginia Tech Vice President for Health Sciences and Technology

Scientific Director

Carla Finkielstein, Ph.D.
Scientific Director, Virginia Tech Molecular Diagnostics Lab, Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC 

For information about operations, please contact Hal Irvin, Ph.D.

Virginia Tech Schiffert Health Center Lab Director: David P. Lebel, M.D.