CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – Research Scientists and Baylor School Faculty Members Dr. Dawn Richards and Dr. Elizabeth Forrester knew they had the ability, technology and expertise at Baylor to test for COVID-19.
So, they gave it a try.
“Once we had the protocol worked out and it became obvious that we had a resource that we wanted to make available to the community is when we began talks with the Hamilton County Health Department,” Dr. Forrester said.
The two-woman team is now testing swabs for COVID-19 at the school’s science research lab.
It’s a process that they said requires advanced molecular biology equipment.
The stuff you wouldn’t normally find in a high school lab.
But, since they have it at Baylor they are testing swabs they get from local hospitals and the health department and producing rapid results.
“Right now we are not at capacity for testing and so we turn them around same day,” Dr. Forrester said.
Currently, the ladies have the ability to test between 50 and 60 swabs daily.
But, their capabilities are growing with two scientists on standby and more equipment on the way.
They hope to get the equipment by the end of this month.
“Once we get four Phds and and all of the equipment. We think we could do, you know, 300 plus a day,” Dr. Forrester said.
“I think this has brought our whole community together. Even though it’s a really hard time for people, it’s really been uplifting to get the kind of support that we have in our community and people are offering all sorts of help and assistance it’s really wonderful to see how people want to be a part of the solution,” Dr. Richards said.
“We just felt from our hearts that this was the right thing to do and I think other people have similar motivations and they’ve been reaching out and we want to thank everyone for that,” Dr. Forrester said.
The scientists said that they will continue testing for as long as they’re needed.