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College of Science and Mathematics

Enhancing lives through learning, discovery and innovation

Website Update

An Innovative Response

Illustration of the article title & subtitle

Led by the College of Science and Mathematics, faculty, staff, and students from across campus created a new lab to run in-house, saliva-based and wastewater COVID-19 surveillance tests. The lab helped the university keep the Cal Poly community safe by more effectively catching infections before they spread — all while providing students a valuable Learn by Doing experience.

The Team

From students to faculty to technical, health, facilities and maintenance staff, the Cal Poly community came together to make the lab work.


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25 STUDENTS from 3 COLLEGES

"It's cool to actually apply what you did in a lab class to real life." - Vinay Gopan, microbiology student

 

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FACULTY AND STAFF LEADERSHIP & SUPPORT

From departments all across campus

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8 OPENTRONS ROBOTS

To move liquid samples

 

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3 MONTHS

From green light to first tests

 

Saliva Testing

Thanks to a quick turnaround time and high accuracy, the university can test all students coming to campus twice a week.


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DEFINING TERMS

The 93% sensitivity rate is in regard to accurately determining if someone is positive for COVID-19, while the 97% specificity rate is in regard to accurately determining if someone does not have COVID-19. Limit of detection is the lowest amount of pathogen that can be differentiated in a clinical sample.

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4,000 TESTS in 8 HOURS

 

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149,592 SAMPLES

Collected from February to June 2021

 

"I'm really proud of our protocol — it is unique...We are able to do it much more efficiently and much faster than other institutions." - Jean Davidson, biology professor

 

Wastewater Testing

Wastewater testing monitored for potential outbreaks before they spread and allowed for more targeted saliva testing if necessary.


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10 GALLONS

How much wastewater Cal Poly pulls out of five manholes twice a week.

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55 MILLION

Approximately how many viruses per liter have been detected.

 

 

 


Read more about Healthy Communities in Filling the Gaps and Practicing a Passion for Healthcare

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