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NMSU, TriCore Laboratories partner to bring coronavirus testing lab to campus

Albuquerque-based TriCore Reference Laboratories is establishing a branch lab at New Mexico State University to provide local testing for novel coronavirus infection.


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Albuquerque-based TriCore Reference Laboratories is partnering with New Mexico State University to create a branch lab on the NMSU campus to provide local testing for novel coronavirus infection. (Courtesy of TriCore Reference Laboratories)
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Foster Hall on the New Mexico State University campus in Las Cruces, New Mexico, will house a TriCore Reference Laboratories branch lab to provide local testing for novel coronavirus infection. (NMSU photo by Josh Bachman)

“This is wonderful news,” said NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu. “This will allow us to conduct very broad testing across our campus at a very low cost in our efforts to help manage the spread of this virus. This approach gives me comfort that we will be able to come back to our campus and keep our students, employees and our broader community safe.”

The lab will be located on the NMSU campus and help build capability for clinical laboratory testing in the region, said NMSU Regents Professor of Biology Kathy Hanley. The lab will provide internship opportunities for students and create local, well-paying jobs, and allow for TriCore and NMSU to collaborate on research.

“We intend for this clinical lab to be a resource in support of communities across southern New Mexico,” Hanley said. “Testing in the local region is particularly urgent given the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Hispanic and other minority populations.”

NMSU is receiving funding from the New Mexico Department of Health to support the lab, which will provide much-needed testing capability in the Paso del Norte region.

“Testing is one of the best ways to be able to limit the spread of COVID-19 – second only to staying home, masking, and distancing,” said Department of Health Cabinet Secretary Kathy Kunkel. “Adding a testing lab on the NMSU campus will help to assure the health of the student body as well as increase our overall testing capacity in the state.”

TriCore brings expertise with CLIA regulations, scientific validations, medical directorships, policies and procedures and lab operations, and other critical elements that will allow the laboratory to function beginning in August. Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine is also a lab partner.

“TriCore is honored to serve southern New Mexico and partner with NMSU in a coordinated, strategic approach to diagnosing, studying and preventing the spread of SARS-CoV-2 virus,” said Dr. Michael Crossey, CEO of TriCore. “This project aligns with our mission to leverage laboratory diagnostics, education, and research to improve the health of all New Mexico’s communities.”

NMSU will provide initial laboratory space within Foster Hall that is certified and equipped for the work required for coronavirus analysis.

The collaboration’s long-term goal is for the lab to eventually be located in a larger facility. As the COVID-19 pandemic wanes, the lab will provide testing capability for other important infectious diseases such as influenza, Hanley said. Additionally, the lab facilities will offer future collaborative research opportunities for NMSU students and faculty and TriCore personnel.

TriCore Reference Laboratories is an independent, not-for-profit, clinical reference laboratory founded and headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico, co-sponsored by Presbyterian Healthcare Services and University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center. TriCore provides over 2,900, full-service, state-of-the-art laboratory tests to healthcare professionals and their patients. TriCore also provides analytics and research services, supporting healthcare and scientific organizations worldwide. TriCore’s Rhodes Group offers laboratory software and consulting services to optimize clinical laboratory operations, including empowering population health management and targeted intervention strategies. For more information, visit tricore.org.