CARBONDALE (WSIL) -- The team at Southern Illinois University's School of Biological Science is on track to produce another round of viral transport medium.
SIU Assistant professor in Microbiology Scott Hamilton-Brehm said, they have contracted to provide the state of Illinois 40 thousand more vials of Viral Transport Medium, after completing their first 40 thousand last week.
"We were able to produce 10,000 per week, for a grand total of 40,000 and it was all shipped up to Springfield, it was received well, and immediately used," said Hamilton-Brehm, adding that they have streamlined their process and he estimates they can now produce up to 15,000 vials a day.
When complete, those vials are later used to store COVID-19 test samples taken from patients, and it is with increased testing that the state will look to reopen its economy.
"The key thing is that you can test on the first day, you can test on the second day, you can test on the third day, if you have that capacity, then you can open up," said Hamilton-Brehm. "You can do whatever you need to do because testing (would) not be a hindrance, you can do it at anytime."
The transport solution is only one part of the testing equation and students like Carras Grygiel, a Senior in Physiology working in the lab helping to produce those vials says there's a lot of pride in the work.
"I think we have a big part in what's happening right now, I think the major goal is to make sure testing is not the limiting factor," said Grygiel, adding that even though the work is becoming routine, they all understand they're part of a much larger picture.
"It feels just like every-day life, but I think when we look back on it it's going to be kind of more amazing than it is right now," said Grygiel. "Because right now all i'm doing is putting stickers on, putting stickers on, putting stickers on' that's pretty normal but in the scheme of things we might look back and it might be a bigger deal."
That team at SIU has also stepped up its sanitizing efforts to keep the production line moving. Once vials are shipped, they are kept in refrigerated storage and have a shelf life of up to a year.