LSU On the Frontline of COVID-19 Response

Dear LSU Community,

In these unprecedented times, we have all been affected in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic. When the news gets overwhelming, it’s important to focus on the good: People joining together to fight against the virus, and to support our friends and neighbors throughout this extended period of physical distancing.

I promise you that, despite these trying times, LSU is here to help. At every defining moment from World War II to Hurricane Katrina and now during the coronavirus outbreak, our people have undertaken meaningful and abiding public service.

As a member of the LSU family, you will be proud to know the exceptional efforts undertaken by our incredible faculty, staff, researchers, alumni, and health care personnel, many of whom are working tirelessly at the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis. Still, others have developed innovative processes to literally manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) in this time of acute shortage in order to keep our medical professionals safe and healthy. Here are just a few examples of what you all are doing:

  • The LSU Health Sciences Center (HSC) in Shreveport has opened its own testing facility that will provide COVID-19 results in 24 hours, processing up to 1,500 tests daily, serving the greater Shreveport-Bossier area as well as other Louisiana parishes.
  • The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, in partnership with faculty from LSUHSC New Orleans Infectious Diseases and Pulmonary/Critical Care, has opened a testing facility capable of turning around COVID-19 results in 24 hours, serving the Baton Rouge area and Capital Region. This lab is led by experts in respiratory immunology, toxicology, infectious disease, and emerging viruses. Additionally, researchers at LSU Vet Med have isolated the major genes of COVID-19 and are working to support the identification of vaccine candidates.
  • LSU faculty and students have delivered to New Orleans more than 200 prototype face shields and gowns they created using laser cutters, 3D printing, and novel fabrication techniques, and are working to scale operations to support physicians and nurses directly on the front lines of the COVID-19 fight.
  • LSU’s flagship campus in Baton Rouge is currently standing up a large-scale manufacturing facility to produce 200,000 gowns for physicians in New Orleans, building on an effort that one faculty member started in his garage only a week ago.
  • LSU researchers and chemists formulated more than 600 gallons of hand sanitizer for the Louisiana Department of Corrections.
  • LSU researchers are coordinating with the Department of Defense Army Research Office to rapidly develop novel and scalable sterilization technology to enable hospitals to sanitize and reuse PPE.
  • LSU’s National Center for Biomedical Research and Training (NCBRT) has helped GOHSEP secure significant PPE for distribution across the state, provided soap and sanitation supplies to regional law enforcement, trained the LSU Police Department in virus response, and supported other states in training around minimizing home contact for their law enforcement, fire and EMS personnel.
  • Pennington Biomedical is working closely with the Baton Rouge Health District to provide PPE, is converting clinical labs to support COVID-19 testing, is part of the surge bed plan, and is working with GOHSEP to provide PPE to the New Orleans area. Pennington is also preparing to launch a community engagement program to provide helpful information on meal preparation, eating habits and health-related daily activities, including exercise.
  • The LSU AgCenter 4-H program is offering virtual recess for elementary and middle school students as well as online educational resources, including factsheets, news articles, and webinars, which are being updated daily.
  • LSU HSC in Shreveport fourth-year medical students will be able to join the health care workforce in mid-April after completing all their curriculum requirements early.
  • LSU HSC faculty and residents continue to save lives of patients with severe COVID-19 at its partner teaching hospitals in Shreveport, Monroe, New Orleans, Metairie, Slidell, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Bogalusa, Lake Charles, Houma, and Independence.

Thank you for your support throughout this unprecedented situation. Rest assured that our teams at every LSU campus are hard at work protecting our students and supporting the people of Louisiana.

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