SHREVEPORT, La. - The emerging viral threat lab (EVT lab) at LSU Health Shreveport (LSUHS) joins the front line to combat the novel coronavirus. The EVT lab was created to identify individuals who have who have the virus within hours rather than days.

The coronavirus crisis is in large part a testing process. Delayed test results are also a waste of personal protective equipment that are in short supply.

The testing process not involving the EVT lab begins with your local doctor. Doctors have been instructed to take oral and nasal swabs from patients they believe may have the virus. The swabs are then sent to a lab to process. If the test returns positive, the case is sent to the CDC for confirmation.

The EVT lab at LSU Health Shreveport will speed up that process. Gov. John Bel Edwards signed an executive order and approved the lab, but the actual tests began yesterday.

Dr. Martin Sapp, chair of the LSUHS Department of Microbiology and Immunology, says that the new lab is capable of testing 1000 people per day. And Dr. Chris Kevil, Vice Chancellor for Research at LSUHS, says that the lab test can determine the actual amount of virus in each person and it can also determine the viral load.

It took only two weeks to get the EVT lab up and running, a process that usually takes at least six months. 

Oschner, Willis-Knighton, and Christus Health Shreveport Bossier may all soon send their samples to the EVT lab.

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