New Mobile Laboratory at Gallaudet University Processes Tests Reliably, Quickly
With tremendous support offered by American University and the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area, Catholic University will be partnering with local universities and organizations to utilize a new mobile COVID-19 testing lab that is in place at Gallaudet University in Northeast D.C.
The innovative Shield T3 COVID testing system was developed by the University of Illinois and offers expanded asymptomatic testing, which is a critical component of reducing the spread of COVID-19 and safeguarding our communities. Shield T3 offers an accurate, affordable, and convenient saliva-based test.
The lab will begin operations March 1. It has the capacity to process more than 50,000 COVID-19 tests per week. Initially, students at American, Catholic, Marymount, and Gallaudet universities will use 5,000 of those tests per week. Other institutions, including area public schools, have been invited to partner with the lab for their own testing needs to support safe, in-person operations at the participating institutions.
This collaboration is an innovative approach for universities and community partners to both address their specific needs and serve the broader region. American University and the consortium are working with additional area schools and institutions to join the effort.
“Catholic University’s partnership with consortium schools to bring Shield T3 to Washington, D.C., is an invaluable opportunity to band together as a community against the spread of COVID,” says University President John Garvey. “By working cooperatively to create access to testing that is quick, accurate, and affordable, we will curtail the spread of the virus among our students and our neighbors. My hope is that many more partners will join us to help keep our community safe and healthy.”
Developed in partnership with researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Shield T3 test requires only a deposit of saliva instead of an intrusive nasal swab. Trained medical personnel are not needed to administer the test, saving partners considerable money. The test takes minutes to administer and aims to generate results within eight hours of the test being delivered to the mobile laboratory.
“An unprecedented pandemic requires an extraordinary response, and Shield T3 is just that,” said Tim Killeen, president of the University of Illinois System. “We are proud to help Washington-area schools and universities deliver Shield T3 technology that saves lives, ensures well-being, and sees to it that we successfully weather this pandemic.”
The lab will be utilized by the Catholic University community for surveillance testing purposes (symptomatic students will still undergo a nasal swab PCR test through Student Health Services). Saliva samples will be collected at Catholic University and transported to the lab at Gallaudet daily.
The program utilizes a mobile app that delivers instant notification of test results and keeps constituents informed of testing requirements. Shield T3 innovation is currently in use across the University of Illinois System, and at nearly a dozen other universities and companies globally.
“We have worked hard to make testing widely available to the universities we serve, as testing is a critical component in slowing the spread of COVID-19,” said Andrew Flagel, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area. ”We are pleased to partner with Shield T3 to bring this new testing option to D.C.”