Opportunity to participate in NIU COVID-19 testing research
Nov. 16, 2020
Dear NIU community,
I want to take this opportunity to encourage you to participate in this week’s free COVID-19 testing to not only help protect our community during this surge of the pandemic, but also to play a part in the development of a new COVID-19 test.
Beginning today, the Illinois Department of Public Health, the DeKalb County Health Department and NIU are partnering to offer free, drive-through COVID-19 testing that will run through Wednesday, Nov. 18, for any students, faculty, staff members or DeKalb County residents who want to be tested prior to Thanksgiving.
Nasal swab testing is available each of the three days from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Anderson Hall parking lot, and results will be available in four to seven days.
Additionally, a second COVID-19 test that is under research development will be available at the drive-through site. While the second test is optional, we encourage participants to take both tests. Dr. Elizabeth Gaillard, director of the NIU Molecular Analysis Core Lab, and her team are continuing to develop and validate this new test in collaboration with private partners. To validate the test, hundreds of more samples are needed to be compared against the results of PCR tests.
The new testing method involves a simple gargle and oral rinse. The test could offer a rapid, more cost-effective alternative to the standard PCR test, while remaining adaptable to potential future mutations of the virus. While these test results won’t be shared, participation in this second test represents a great opportunity to help NIU in the validation process.
Those who participate in the second test will be asked to complete a consent form and provide basic demographic information. Visit go.niu.edu/drive-thru-research for more information. Thank you for doing your part to protect the pack.
Gerald Blazey, Ph.D.
NIU Vice President for Research and Innovation Partnerships