SIU grad students helping fight COVID-19

SIU grad students helping fight COVID-19

CARBONDALE, Ill. (KFVS) - Many people want to jump in and be helpers on the front line.

These grad students are making a solution that cotton swabs from testing will be put in and shipped off to see if you are positive or negative.

“I kind of felt that I needed to contribute in some way, rather than sit at home all day," said Erik Velkme, SIU grad student. "So I felt this is a good opportunity to do that.”

Trevor Murphy felt the same about helping out.

“We all just really wanted to help, we knew there was a shortage and we were capable of doing it,” he said.

They are indeed capable of fighting COVID-19. The State of Illinois needed more salt-based solution. SIU was not so capable at first of putting together this solution.

“We’ve been having a lot of late nights just sort of ironing out the procedure working out the kinks making sure our calculations are proper," Murphy said.

They are on a roll with producing the solution now.

“It’s a salt solution, we have an antibiotic that way no bacteria grow and an anti fungal that way no fungus grows as well. And we have a couple buffers to keep it all I guess stable," he said.

Once they have the solution in the bottles, they ship it off to Springfield, Illinois so the state can fully approve it. They are producing about 10,000 vials per week. They are signed on to May 1.

The microbiology students have had a lot of people reach out to them. They said they receive multiple emails a day from faculty and students that want to help.

The students are doing this on their own time as well, while still taking classes.

This lab does not usually work with pathogens or viruses but they felt the call.

Once COVID-19 is over, they said they will continue to discover in the lab.

Many of the University’s projects that are researched are paid for the staff and not the University. This project is funded via the State.

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