UArizona Health Sciences Ships COVID-19 Collection Kits to Navajo Nation

TUCSON, Ariz. — The University of Arizona Health Sciences shipped 250 COVID-19 sample collection kits to the Navajo Nation in Window Rock, Arizona, today to help in the international effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

"On behalf of the Navajo Nation, I wish to extend a huge, heartfelt thank you to all of the gracious and hardworking staff and volunteers that contributed their hard work and resources to these COVID-19 collection kits," said Navajo Nation Speaker of the Council Seth Damon. "Knowing we have a willing partner in the University of Arizona gives us greater hope that our people will overcome this together."

Facing a statewide and national shortage of COVID-19 collection kits, UArizona researchers and volunteers have produced more than 1,650 kits and hope to produce 500 a day in the next few weeks (Photo: University of Arizona Health Sciences).Facing a major statewide and national shortage of COVID-19 collection kits, David Harris, PhD, MS, professor of immunobiology and director of the Biorepository in the UArizona College of Medicine –Tucson, and volunteers from his laboratory produced more than 1,650 collection kits in the last week. Harris plans to produce 500 kits a day if the lab receives additional swabs – one of the components of the collection kit – which are needed to produce thousands of additional kits over the next two weeks to offset a shortage in Southern Arizona and beyond.

Earlier this week, UArizona delivered 1,000 collection kits to Banner – University Medical Center Tucson over a two-day period.

"Regrettably, the Navajo Nation has been particularly hard hit by the coronavirus and needs these tests to help protect their community," said University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins, MD. "We are sending these sample collection kits in the hopes they can assist in their efforts to address COVID-19, and we thank the president, the speaker and the council for their tireless work."

The UArizona Biorepository provides clinically annotated specimens and services to the research community and other institutions involved in biomedical research. In addition, it collects, catalogues and distributes human biological samples with associated pertinent clinical data to facilitate translational research and help investigators accomplish their research aims.

The production of COVID-19 collection kits is a collaboration between dedicated teams of scientists from the Biorepository and the UArizona BIO5 Institute. Harris' team also has worked in partnership with Laboratory Sciences of Arizona and Sonora Quest Laboratories and Banner – University Medical Center Tucson Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory to have the collection kits validated for use.

Editors Please Note: Photos and video of the COVID-19 collection sample kits being assembled in the UArizona Biorepository are available here

The UArizona Health Sciences COVID-19 Resources web page can be found here

For the latest on the University of Arizona response to the novel coronavirus, visit the university's COVID-19 webpage

About the University of Arizona College of Medicine –Tucson
The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson is shaping the future of medicine through state-of-the-art medical education programs, groundbreaking research and advancements in patient care in Arizona and beyond. Founded in 1967, the college boasts more than 50 years of innovation, ranking among the top medical schools in the nation for research and primary care. Through the university's partnership with Banner Health, one of the largest nonprofit health care systems in the country, the college is leading the way in academic medicine. For more information, visit (Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn).

About the University of Arizona Health Sciences
The University of Arizona Health Sciences is the statewide leader in biomedical research and health professions training. UArizona Health Sciences includes the Colleges of Medicine (Tucson and Phoenix), Nursing, Pharmacy, and the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, with main campus locations in Tucson and the Phoenix Biomedical Campus in downtown Phoenix. From these vantage points, Health Sciences reaches across the state of Arizona, the greater Southwest and around the world to provide next-generation education, research and outreach. A major economic engine, Health Sciences employs nearly 5,000 people, has approximately 4,000 students and 900 faculty members, and garners $200 million in research grants and contracts annually. For more information: (Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | LinkedIn | Instagram).

Release Date: 
04/03/2020 - 7:45am
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