How did this get started?
In March 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States, local physicians, physician groups, health officials and the Oregon State University administration turned to the Oregon Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory to use its high-capacity equipment, expertise and laboratory resources to test for COVID-19. Scientists at the OVDL had been chomping at the bit to get involved. However, though the OVDL is accredited and a member of the USDA National Animal Health Laboratory Network, it needed the federal Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments certification for handling human samples.
The OVDL learned of WVT Laboratory's interest in testing for COVID-19. Located in Albany, Oregon, WVT is CLIA certified, but lacked the equipment and experience for this type of testing. The OVDL and WVT arranged a partnership — the OVDL would provide testing equipment, experience and laboratory resources and WVT would provide proper approvals and certifications, data handling and reporting and also expertise and laboratory space.
As the pandemic continued, the OVDL also applied for and received its own CLIA certification, allowing the testing process to be further streamlined.