Baylor University Partners with My Labs Direct to Launch State-of-the-Art On-Site COVID-19 Testing Lab and Research Facility to Usher Students, Faculty Safely Back to Campus
Lab to be housed in the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC)
WACO, Texas (Jan. 21, 2021) – Baylor University announced today that it has opened its own on-site COVID-19 testing lab and research facility in partnership with My Labs Direct (MLD), a CLIA-certified, COLA-accredited diagnostic lab that offers an extensive menu of FDA-approved tests.
The multi-million dollar lab is one of the largest testing labs of its kind owned by a university with no affiliated medical school and addresses the University’s ongoing need to conduct extensive coronavirus testing of its faculty, staff and students. The new partnership creates a high-throughput molecular PCR lab at the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC) that will allow the University to operate at least three on-campus testing sites with the capacity to conduct up to 150,000 diagnostic tests from January through May. With additional capacity for processing non-Baylor, community tests, the lab can process up to 8,000 more tests daily with most results available within 24 hours.
In addition to providing extensive COVID-19 testing, the lab’s molecular PCR platform will augment Baylor’s long-term vision to become a Research 1/Tier 1 university by providing robust and high-demand testing capabilities, including forensic testing like PCR-based genetic fingerprinting and paternity testing, food safety testing for food-borne pathogens, toxins and GMOs, livestock testing and human health diagnostic testing like rapid point-of-care influenza tests.
Since the university opened for on-campus learning amid the pandemic in the fall of 2020, MLD has provided a majority of Baylor’s COVID-19 testing needs (about 35,000 tests). Before opening the lab, Baylor conducted 68,904 tests – more tests than The University of Texas at Austin, whose student body is triple the size. With the new capabilities, Baylor will have the ability to test 100% of the student body each week. Baylor’s retention rate of students is 95% going into the spring 2021, indicative of the confidence students and families have in the university’s ongoing comprehensive COVID-19 measures to ensure a safe learning community.
“We are pleased to join in partnership with My Labs Direct to build our own COVID-19 testing lab, which will greatly extend our campus testing capability and help us continue to keep our University community safe, healthy and on campus,” said Nancy Brickhouse, Ph.D., Provost at Baylor. “This partnership also aligns with Baylor’s aspirations to be a Research 1/Tier 1 university, providing vital infrastructure and developing opportunities for faculty research and internships, practicums and business training programs for our undergraduate and graduate students.”
“The companion fit between My Labs Direct and Baylor University has led to the development of a state-of-the-art laboratory facility that enables gold-standard COVID-19 testing accuracy reported in less than 24 hours and in many cases the same day,” said Justin Simons, CEO of MLD. “It is equally exciting that through MLD’s collaboration with Baylor University Research, we have developed a diagnostic framework that will enable advanced studies and analyses of not only COVID-19, but of a host of other molecular science initiatives. We could not be more thrilled about the potential this partnership brings.”
The lab, which will use Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Amplitude RT-PCR solution for processing COVID-19 tests, has been built in the BRIC. The BRIC is a 330,000-square-foot facility near the Baylor campus in Waco focused on interdisciplinary and international research; industry and university collaborations; business incubation, acceleration and commercialization; advanced workforce training; and STEM educational research and outreach. The University will provide a part-time graduate business student to assist with lab management.
About Baylor University
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 19,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.
About My Labs Direct
My Labs Direct is a Dallas-based CLIA-certified diagnostic lab that offers an extensive menu of FDA-approved tests. Molecular diagnostic capabilities include flu, strep, and STD testing as well as COVID-19 testing with 24-hour results. My Labs Direct also offers a variety of blood wellness tests including hormone, testosterone, thyroid, immune health, and more. The company’s mobile fleet accommodates onsite testing for corporations and in-home testing for consumers. It also is the official research lab and COVID-19 testing partner for Baylor University and its athletic department, student body, faculty, and staff. Organized in 2018, My Labs Direct was formed to meet a growing consumer demand for a hassle-free direct-pay alternative to lab testing. Since its founding year, the company has processed more than 250,000 tests at its in-house state-of-the-art testing facility in Dallas, Texas.
Media Contact and Note
High-resolution photos (with captions) of the Baylor University My Labs Direct (MLD) testing lab and research facility are available for download in this Box folder: bit.ly/MLD-BaylorLab. Photos can be credited to Matthew Minard/Baylor University.