LSU Health Shreveport has received a $125,000 gift from Inferno Mfg. Corp. to support its efforts to bring COVID-19 testing to medically underserved areas of northwest Louisiana. The gift will be used in combination with a Caddo Parish Commission grant to deploy mobile testing units to virus hot spot areas, as well as rural areas within Caddo Parish. With Inferno’s gift, LSU Health Shreveport will also expand its mobile testing to six other parishes in north Louisiana.
Inferno Mfg. Corp. is a Shreveport-based manufacturing company employing 27 people. Inferno produces sight glass gages for the oil and gas industry. Mr. Allen Organick, Inferno’s owner, read a recent story about the Caddo Commission’s emergency mobile testing grant. He called Commissioner Stephen Jackson to praise the action taken by the Commission and asked him how he could personally support these efforts. Mr. Organick was immediately connected with LSU Health Shreveport’s Chancellor, Dr. G. E. Ghali, and Vice Chancellor of Research, Dr. Chris Kevil, who explained the need for increased COVID-19 testing in Caddo Parish and beyond.
“The health sciences center is very appreciative of this generous gift from Mr. Organick and Inferno Manufacturing Corp. It will be put to invaluable use in expanding the access to both viral and antibody testing, particularly in underserved areas of north Louisiana,” stated LSU Health Chancellor G. E. Ghali, MD, DDS, FACS, FRCS, (Ed.)
In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, LSU Health Shreveport created the Emerging Viral Threat (EVT) Lab to address the need for faster detection and processing of COVID-19 tests. The EVT Lab has the capability to process up to 1,500 tests per day with results available in 24 to 48 hours. It can also track mutations in the virus, which will inform vaccine and research efforts. To expand the EVT Lab’s reach and conduct mobile testing, LSU Health Shreveport has temporarily repurposed its Partners in Wellness van that usually performs mobile cancer screening through its Feist-Weiller Cancer Center. The PIW van will now transport testing materials and staff to designated areas in north Louisiana. Inferno’s gift will ensure that the mobile testing program will quickly reach areas most affected by COVID-19.
Mr. Organick commented, “People who serve essential roles in our community such as grocery and retail service, nursing homes, and other healthcare services deserve our respect and gratitude. When I read that the Parish had committed to expanding testing, I knew it was going to help a lot of people. But I wanted to make sure we could help even more. My hope is that other business owners will support the research and outreach activities of LSU Health Shreveport. Local businesses have the power to act with speed for the public good.”
For more information on how to support LSU Health Shreveport’s COVID-19 response efforts, contact Jesse Gilmore with the LSU Health Sciences Foundation at 861-0855 or visit www.lsuhsfoundation.org/covid19/.