Lt. Gov. tours Upstate labs researching ways to contain COVID-19

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul toured labs at Upstate Medical University Tuesday where she got to witness the work researchers are doing to contain coronavirus.

Along with the university president, the tour was guided by Dr. Frank Middleton, who’s part of a team of more than 100 researchers at Upstate, working with teams at Syracuse University and SUNY ESF.

Middleton showed Hochul what’s called a four-degree “cold room” that stores jars of samples of water taken from flushed toilets. The wastewater from Onondaga County and other communities across the country can detect even one person infected with coronavirus from as many as 300 homes.

Middleton is also researching pool testing. He explains combining 25 individual saliva samples into one “mega sample” before testing. A negative result means everyone’s negative. A positive means doctors can further investigate the people in the group.

That research, if approved by the FDA, could be the way college students are tested when returning to SUNY Upstate or Syracuse University.

Hochul, who graduated from Syracuse University, got to see both methods first-hand.

We can get the results back in 24 hours from everybody in a dorm and find out whether or not that was a one-off, whether it’s widespread, or one person or not. If we can identify that quickly, find out if that student had gone out and been with other students the night before, get to those students. This is how you contain it. This is the brilliance behind this strategy.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul

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