LSU Health Shreveport establishes COVID-19 testing lab

By Randy Brown | Bossier Press-Tribune

On Wednesday morning, LSU Health Shreveport held a virtual press conference to announce that it has established a COVID-19 testing lab. Officially, the testing lab facility will be known as the Emerging Viral Threat Lab (EVT). 

The purpose of the EVT will be to address the need for faster detection and processing of COVID-19 tests. The EVT lab is the first in North Louisiana to be approved by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). The facility also has the support of Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards. The LSU Health Shreveport EVT is the first CMS approved facility in North Lousiana to conduct and analyze tests to determine if an individual has COVID-19.

In his opening remarks at the press conference, Dr.G. E. Ghali, LSU Health Shreveport said that the primary purpose for today’s press conference is to update the community on LSU Health Shreveport’s role in combatting this invisible enemy (COVID-19). 

Furthermore, Dr. Ghali also said that one of two primary roles related to the purpose for today’s press conference is for LSU Health Shreveport to provide doctors and trainees that can work with their clinical partner Oschner Health System. The second role is to discuss the new Emerging Viral Threat Lab. 

During the press conference, Dr. Ghali acknowledged that the facts surrounding Louisiana’s high number of confirmed cases are really scary due to the fact that studies show that Lousiana has the fastest growth rate in the world in terms of conformed COVID-19 cases and that the steepness of the growth rate curve parallels that of Italy and Spain. 

LSU Heath Shreveport Virologists conceived the notion of the testing lab a couple of weeks ago (March 12th). Then a few days later, Dr. Ghali met with Lousiana Governor John Bel Edwards in order to discuss this opportunity. And then, a few days after that (March 25th), the first samples were tested.   

Panel speakers/members for the press conference in addition to Ghali were: Dr. Chuck Fox, Vice Chancellor for Clinical Affairs; Dr. Chris Kevil, Vice Chancellor for Research; Drew Mouton, Chief Innovation Officer and Dr. Martin Sapp, Chair, Microbiology and Immunology Department.