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NMSU to receive $130,000 in equipment to bolster COVID-19 testing capability

New Mexico State University has signed a memorandum of understanding with the State of New Mexico to add two new pieces of equipment worth $130,000 to the testing lab on campus.

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The two new pieces of equipment worth $130,000 will soon be added to the testing lab at New Mexico State University in the designated lab area in Foster Hall. (NMSU Photo by Josh Bachman)

The two new pieces of equipment, the ThermoFisher Kingfisher Flex and the ABI 7500 Fast Dx real-time PCR machine, will join Albuquerque-based TriCore Reference Laboratories’ Hologic Panther in the designated lab area in Foster Hall.

The two machines are expected to process as many as 300 to 500 tests per day when fully operational. One machine processes the sample, the second detects the presence of RNA specific to the novel coronavirus.

“The point of having multiple types of equipment in the lab is flexibility,” said James Murphy, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “When we made this proposal to the state a couple of months ago, we wanted a variety of methodologies. It potentially helps minimize the impact of limited access to supplies since we’ll be working with different types of assays.”

Murphy said the value of the new equipment goes beyond its use for COVID-19 testing during the pandemic. It also can provide different kinds of analysis for other types of research.

“It’s better in the long term for research purposes,” Murphy said. “Once the crisis is diminished, we plan to work together with TriCore on several research projects. TriCore has already hired about half a dozen people for its satellite lab at NMSU and most of them are NMSU graduates or students. This is providing career opportunities for our graduates who are interested in clinical medicine.”