Spartan's Spit in the Fight Against COVID-19

Spartan's Spit in the Fight Against COVID-19

EAST LANSING - Michigan State University launched a new program that aims to minimize the spread of COVID-19 among students and faculty.

Spartan spit kits are designed to alert participants that may be asymptomatic if COVID-19 is detected in their saliva.

“The goal of the program is to provide a tool and resource for faculty, staff, students and for the university to understand the prevalence of COVID within its community and population,” said Director of Operations, Brian Jespersen. “To be able to provide people peace of mind and reduce anxiety and stress on campus.”

Each spit kit contains a biohazard bag, a transfer pipette, a tube and a small tube with beads in it.

“We have a capacity to run about ten thousand samples a week,” said Jespersen.

Participants in the program are alerted on a weekly basis when it is their time to pick up a spit kit and are designated a time to drop off their sample by.

“We’re trying to have the results to them by the next day,” said Joe Patterson, a scientist in the lab. “If they drop of their sample on say a Tuesday, we hope by the end of the day or early evening on Wednesday we’re sending out results.”

There are various locations across campus that students can pick up kits and drop off samples at.

“Currently I think we have around ten to fourteen people in the lab,” said Patterson. “Some of them are working other jobs throughout the university so we only get them part time.”

In an email from MSU president Samuel Stanley, the university announced that during spring semester, all students living on campus and all undergraduate students coming onto campus for in-person classes, will be required to sign up for the program.

The Michigan State Football Team also is participating in the program and testing all football players Monday through Friday.

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