U of O Gets $4.3 Million To Expand Statewide COVID-19 Testing Capacity

Oct 29, 2020

The Oregon Legislature’s Emergency Board recently approved $4.3 million for the University of Oregon to expand their COVID-19 Monitoring and Assessment Program, known as MAP.  The funding will allow purchase of “precise sequencing equipment” and could more than double the state’s testing capacity.

The Oregon Health Authority approached UO faculty members because of their expertise in genomics and ability to implement next-generation sequencing technology, which uses precise genome sequencing equipment that accelerates test volume, requires smaller amounts of reagents and is much more cost effective.
Credit Institute for Health and the Built Environment

Currently, Oregon labs can test a maximum of 6,800 samples per day. According to the U of O, the newly funded project would increase capacity to more than 17,000 daily tests by the New Year.

The money comes mostly from federal COVID-19 response funds. While not intended to cover the university’s own testing needs, the institution acknowledges it too will benefit from increased statewide testing.

The Emergency Board may meet later this fall to consider additional allocation of funds for expanded COVID-19 testing. The Oregon Health Authority is lead on design and implementation of testing strategies statewide.