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WKSU, our public radio partners in Ohio and across the region and NPR are all continuing to work on stories on the latest developments with the coronavirus and COVID-19 so that we can keep you informed.

Ohio State Wins FDA Approval For New Coronavirus Testing Supplies

Researcher Jacob Yount and colleagues prepared the viral transport media for COVID-19 test kits.
Researcher Jacob Yount and colleagues prepared the viral transport media for COVID-19 test kits.

Ohio State University says it's received FDA approval for a new testing solution and swab meant to expand testing for the new coronavirus.  One of the biggest barriers to more COVID-19 testing is a lack of necessary materials, including a liquid known as Viral Transport Media, or VTM. It’s what preserves the medical swab used on patients until it’s tested.

Scientists at Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center say that within 24 hours, they created an in-house recipe for a salt-based solution to help supplement commercial fluids that remain in short supply.

“Because of this new viral transport media, thousands of people will be tested for COVID-19 who otherwise would have had no other option,” Dr. Andrew Thomas, chief clinical officer at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, said in a university statement.

Wexner Medical Center researchers also worked with the colleges of engineering and dentistry to use 3-D printers to make 50,000 new swabs, which will be shared with hospitals around the state. 

“We’re fortunate to have the scientists and the resources at Ohio State’s seven health sciences colleges and across campus to create these vital materials and to be able to serve other hospital systems in Ohio and around the country that need them,” said Dr. Hal Paz, executive vice president and chancellor for health affairs at Ohio State and CEO of the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, in the statement.

The developments come as Ohio continues to lack widespread coronavirus testing. State officials say people who are symptomatic should stay home and avoid testing unless absolutely necessary.

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