Posted: 4/02/20

TAMIU Donates 110 COVID-19 Sampling Kits to Laredo Health Department


System Seal

Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) president Dr. Pablo Arenaz today presented Laredo Health Department Director Dr. Hector González with 110 COVID-19 sampling kits.

“We’re a proud part of The Texas A&M University System, and honored to be able to share the A&M System’s resources right here in Laredo where they can be most utilized in our City’s  COVID-19 pandemic response.  TAMIU cares about our community we’re honored to be able to help out in this crisis,” said Dr. Arenaz.

The viral sampling kits were rushed to TAMIU by the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory in College Station. Over 2000 kits were assembled for human use from lab supplies usually reserved for pigs, cows and chickens at A&M’s four diagnostic labs across the state for distribution to System campuses. 

Laredo Health Department director Dr. Hector González told Dr. Arenaz that the additional resources will be put to immediate use in the Health Department’s lab.

Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp said the veterinary experts who track disease outbreaks in animals were ready to assist with the current human pandemic.

“No one has ever done this before, but tough times call for creative measures,” said John Sharp, Chancellor of the Texas A&M University System.

Dr. Bruce Akey, director of the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory, said he sent out a plea for supplies to his labs in Amarillo, Center and Gonzales and they began overnighting the supplies late last week.

“We are assembling the supplies into sampling kits here in our College Station lab,” Akey said, “We know that 2,000 may not seem like much when there are 20-plus million Texans at risk that may need testing, but if you need to be tested and you can’t right now because they don’t have this kit then it’s a pretty big deal to you and your family. So we are doing what we can right now.”

The kits consist of a swab, a vial with transport media to preserve the sample in the vial, and a bag. The components are  for use in sampling humans for the COVID-19 virus. They usually cost about $4 to $5 if ordered in bulk before the pandemic swept through the existing stock. Now, these simple supplies are back-ordered for months, crippling efforts to test humans for COVID-19.

“We hope to get these sampling kits in the hospitals or clinics where they are most needed as soon as possible,” Akey said, “We are pulling out all the stops.”

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.


See Kits Being Assembled

TAMIU president Dr. Pablo Arenaz presenting Laredo Health Department Director Dr. Hector González with 110 COVID-19 sampling kitsFollowing the necessary CDC guidelines regarding gatherings and social distancing, TAMIU president Dr. Pablo Arenaz presented Laredo Health Department Director Dr. Hector González with 110 COVID-19 sampling kits.