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Arizona universities to get $14-million to fight coronavirus on campus


$6-million to supplement development of high speed tests

PHOENIX, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Governor Doug Ducey, (R-Ariz.) announced Thursday, the state will invest $14-million in its universities to protect college students from coronavirus.

The governor provided details on the funding during a press briefing including the presidents of Arizona's three state universities; Dr. Michael Crowe, from Arizona State University (ASU), Dr. Robert C. Robbins from the University of Arizona (UofA), and Dr. Rita Cheng of Northern Arizona University (NAU).

The state will provide $8-million for additional testing, surveillance, and other response efforts at all three universities.

It will also provide $6-million for development of Arizona State University’s groundbreaking point-of-need testing. The tests are critical for frontline workers, because they can produce results within minutes.

“Arizona’s universities continue to lead the way in responding to the pandemic and protecting our communities,” said Governor Ducey. “We are excited to continue working with university, public health and community leaders to expand testing and surveillance efforts and to continue identifying best practices in containing the spread of the virus."

Watch Gov. Ducey's full press conference here:

To date, the state has invested more than $31-million in its universities' coronavirus response.

That includes nearly $13-million for ASU researchers to develop a saliva-based virus test. The university developed and deployed one of the first saliva-based tests in the nation. The university has also designed and deployed an online network of 3D printers to quickly produce personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care providers and hospitals in Arizona. 

UofA has developed one of the most accurate antibody tests in the nation. It received $3.5-million in April for 250,000 antibody tests for frontline workers. The university also provided 17,000 diagnostic tests to communities in need, including 7,000 tests for Arizona’s tribal nations.

In addition to the funding announced Wednesday, Arizona also gave the university more than $780,000 to pay for two Poison Control Centers to answer coronavirus-related questions. UofA also received $750,000 for case investigation.

NAU’s Center for Health Equity Research has worked with the Coconino County Monitoring Team to help investigate and contact trace virus cases since the beginning of the pandemic. In addition, Regents Professor Dr. Paul Keim is leading the COVID-19 Genomics Union (ACGU) — a collaborative effort between Arizona’s three universities and TGen to sequence, analyze and track different strains of COVID-19. 

Arizona Coronavirus / Arizona News / College News
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Lisa Sturgis

Lisa Sturgis recently returned to KYMA as its Digital Content Director, but she and her family have a long history in the Desert Southwest.


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