The Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory, or TVMDL, Amarillo Pathology Group LLP and Physicians Preferred Laboratory Ltd. have partnered to increase human SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 testing in the Texas Panhandle.
TVMDL, a state agency within the Texas A&M University System, is one of the largest-volume veterinary diagnostic laboratories in the country. The agency recently received approval from the Clinical Laboratory Improvements Amendment program, within the federal government’s Department of Health and Human Services, to allow a human healthcare provider to perform human COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, testing in their facility.
“Amarillo Pathology Group and Physicians Preferred Laboratory are grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this collaboration with TVMDL,” said Charlyn Snow, practice administrator for Amarillo Pathology Group and Physicians Preferred Laboratory. “During these unprecedented times, accurate and timely answers matter. Through this arrangement, Amarillo and the Panhandle region will have better access to the information needed to manage patient care, community health and safety.”
PCR testing is the primary method used to detect COVID-19. PCR tests detect the virus antigens. Antigens indicate the presence of a virus in its early stages of infection, even before antibodies form or symptoms emerge.
Andrew Hoot of Amarillo Pathology Group and Physicians Preferred Laboratory will serve as the medical director overseeing human testing efforts. Their staff will be trained to use TVMDL’s high-volume testing equipment and to use TVMDL laboratory space to perform testing. Through this partnership, Physicians Preferred Laboratory can perform up to 600 COVID-19 tests each day.
“These are challenging times,” said Bruce Akey, TVMDL director in College Station. “Each day, TVMDL works hard to provide the veterinary community, livestock producers, and animal owners in this region with the highest level of service. We are fortunate to have the equipment, expertise, and lab space to assist our human health care counterparts in overcoming some of the testing challenges of this human pandemic to ensure the community is supported.”
TVMDL’s Amarillo laboratory is not a public testing site, and Physicians Preferred Laboratory is not a respiratory collection site. Tests will be conducted only through a physician’s order, and sample collection will be performed by the patient’s referring provider. This test uses a nasopharyngeal swab.
Patients will have access to their results in 24-48 hours by accessing the patient portal at https://ppl.luminatehealth.com/.