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Dr. Tracy Livingston and Dr. Caleb Fischer

Professors Work to Slow the Spread of COVID-19

Submitted on October 27, 2020

Educators from the Biology and Chemistry departments have joined forces to utilize LAMP (Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification) testing. In general, this type of testing is meant for rapid and accurate results at a low cost. The LAMP accepts urine and saliva samples.

“The LAMP testing idea came about because we wanted to combine our love of and expertise in science with the practical goal of making our community as safe as possible as it confronts the pandemic," said Professor of Biology, Dr. Tracy Livingston. "The LAMP test detects viral nucleic acid and is quick, cheap, and allows us to test a large number of individuals simultaneously."

The college started utilizing LAMP to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The goal is to test small groups of students within the athletics departments where there is a higher chance of there being positive tests. The pooled testing completes the sample quickly and without nasal swabs.

Assistant Professor of Biology, Dr. Caleb Fischer, said, "The test can be especially valuable when there are sizable populations that need to be tested quickly, such as if there is a potential outbreak within certain athletic teams or at specific dorms. When combined with other testing approaches and alongside contact tracing, LAMP can be part of a toolkit to help curtail larger outbreaks and keep the community safe.” 


When a pooled test returns a positive, the students from that group are notified immediately to isolate and get an individual test as soon as possible.

This pooled type of testing is accepted, and, in a perfect world, the remaining samples of a pooled test would be run individually when a positive was returned. In the case of Georgetown College, the professors are full-time faculty and are unable to curate the availability.

“As any student at Georgetown College will tell you, it is our amazing and innovative faculty and staff that make this beautiful college so special," said VP of Enrollment Management, Dr. Jonathan Sands Wise. "The work that Dr. Livingston and Dr. Fischer have voluntarily been doing to help keep this community as safe as possible is the perfect evidence of that. I am honored to work with such wonderful colleagues!"

As for the students who are members of a positive testing group, they can choose to get a rapid test to avoid quarantining should the results return negatively. Otherwise, they need to isolate until a PCR test returns negative results.

Learn how Georgetown College's Staying Healthy initiative is designed for the students, faculty and staff, and the local community. Visit the Center for Disease Control's website to find more measures you can take to stay healthy.

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