“Ensuring the health and safety of our students is our top priority,” said John Sharp, chancellor of the Texas A&M University System. “Facilitating increased accessibility and availability of COVID-19 testing will help us mitigate the spread and help to protect each other by taking preventative and proactive measures.”
Approximately 15,000 test kits will be sent to system campuses each month. Each campus will set up a central location for the testing, which will consist of a simple, painless mouth swab. Testing could start as early as late this week.
The testing is possible thanks to an agreement Chancellor Sharp negotiated with Curative Inc., a national testing company based in California. Curative has committed to turning around lab results within 30 hours from when the sample arrives at their lab.
To date, Curative has released more than 1.2 million test results and is processing 55 to 60 thousand test kits per day with plenty of capacity.
Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to get tested if they experience COVID-19 symptoms, or suspect that they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Close contact is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as being within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes at any time, beginning 48 hours before the individual had symptoms, regardless of wearing a face mask.
While the tests are free, those who have insurance are encouraged to use their primary care physician to access the test so that their test can be paid for by insurance. The on-campus tests will not be available to the general public.
Each campus will establish an on-line test registration, and anyone wishing to be tested must first sign up there. Trained personnel will monitor the self-administered oral swabbing required.
Curative Inc. was founded to develop tests for sepsis in January 2020 and pivoted to COVID-19 in early March 2020 upon realizing the urgent need for test development and production in the United States. Founded by Fred Turner and comprised of a team of doctors, scientists, engineers, and health industry experts, the Curative test is a simple-to-use oral fluid COVID-19 test that can be rapidly scaled to enable widespread access to testing to keep our communities. For more details on Curative, please visit www.curativeinc.com.
About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation with a budget of $6.3 billion. The System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $1 billion in FY 2019 and helped drive the state’s economy.