UB team develops tests tubes to safely transport specimens of COVID-19

Posted at 5:54 PM, Apr 08, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — After a shortage of COVID-19 test kits in Buffalo, researchers with the University at Buffalo were quick to step in.

"The choices were: stop testing, or do something to produce some of the components of test collection kit," said Dr. John Tomaszewski, Chair of Pathology & Anatomical Sciences at UB.

Dr. Tomaszewski is one of several researchers at UB who have manufactured viral transport media tubes because there was a shortage of them.

VTMs are sterile tubes where the nasal swab is placed. The tube keeps the sample stable until it can be tested for COVID-19.

"We actually literally assembled kits. We get the swabs in, we put them together with the viral transport media, and distribute them out to our patient care areas. So it's really bridged a gap when there was no way that we would get these sorts of kits from vendors," said Dr. Tomaszewski.

He said one of the key parts in controlling a pandemic is to know who's been infected, and that's what the testing is for. The team has been using the VTM tubes for more than a week now.

"Part of this stay at home maneuver is to do that without testing. We know that the infection is out there so everybody sort of stays away, social isolation, you're not spreading it," he said.

They are providing Kaleida Health with approximately 1,000 tubes of VTM each week. So far, Dr. Tomaszewski the Kaleida Health has approximately 2,000 tubes.