Virginia Tech scientists playing important role in the fight against COVID-19

Published: May. 3, 2020 at 8:46 PM EDT
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is playing an important role in the fight against

in our hometowns.

Montgomery County leaders and Virginia Tech President Tim Sands held a community conversation to answer questions from the public.

While many topics were jam packed into the hour-long ZOOM conversation, it was clear the impact Virginia Tech has had on the fight against COVID-19 in our area.

It was recently announced that the university's scientists have developed a new COVID-19 test and secured federal and state approval to begin processing.

"We have some assets that our faculty and our students, our staff immediately recognized that we could bring to bare for the community," said Sands.

Scientists at both the Blacksburg Campus and Virginia Tech Carilion in Roanoke have been working on the tests and have them readily available.

"They basically said let's stop everything we're doing from a research point of view and pivot to do everything we can to make sure we can stand-up testing," said Sands.

They were able to prove to the Virginia Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration that they were worthy of an emergency use authorization and have been doing 100 tests per day with a goal of 24 hour turn around.

"We are appealing to the state to help scale this up in our testing lab to 1,000 tests per day because if there is anything that is going to help our community and our campus open up in the fall, it's going to be the ability to test significant numbers of individuals, not just on campus, with less than 24 hour turn-around," said Sands.

Friday Governor Northam announced in his press conference they would be opening up PPE cleaning systems in Blacksburg.

"These systems have multiple units that are each the size of a storage container and can clean up to 80,000 masks per day using a hydrogen peroxide vapor," said Governor Northam.

The PPE will be able to be used 20 times without contamination.

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