How can UW-Madison research labs assist with COVID-19 response?

With the exception of the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, which is doing diagnostic testing, other UW–Madison labs do not have the capability to perform testing for COVID-19 because they do not have diagnostic laboratory certification through the CLIA program (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments). However, one laboratory has a research test for COVID-19 and is performing tests on de-identified samples in an effort to understand mechanisms related to the virus, but not for diagnostic purposes.

Labs can help the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene, which, like all state and large public health labs, is currently at full sustainable capacity testing for COVID-19. The biggest strain on the lab currently is access to necessary reagents for nucleic acid extraction platforms. State Lab is in search of these reagents for future contingency planning and is asking anyone able to help fulfill their request to be in contact (contact information below). 

The needed reagents include:

  • MagNA Pure LC 2.0
    • Total Nucleic Acid Kit, Cat. No.03038505001
    • Plates, tips, tubes needed to run MagNa Pure LC 2.0 extraction runs
  • EMAG
    • all 6 components (same components as EasyMag): buffers, beads, etc.
  • QIAcube HT
    • QIAmp 96 Virus QIAcube kit, Cat. No. 57731
    • QIAcube HT plasticware kit, Cat. No. 950067
  • Viral transport media
  • Nasopharyngeal swabs

If you think you can help, please contact: Pete Shult,, 608-224-4328 or 608-262-5419 |  Alana Sterkel,, 608-224-4277 | Allen Bateman,, 608-224-4254

Also, if you have personal protective equipment — especially N95s, Tyvek suits, isolation gowns, and procedure masks — these are in extremely limited supply, as are disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer. If you have extra PPE you would like to donate, or if you need these items for essential operations and have a request in that is currently unmet, contact the EOC Logistics Team at All PPE use requests will be evaluated for need, application of equipment alternatives, and for measures that can be taken to reduce PPE consumption. Do not work without PPE or reuse disposable PPE unless approved to do so under your biosafety protocol. If you need more information, please contact the Office of Biological Safety.

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