A method for campus-wide SARS-CoV-2 surveillance at a large public university

Terren Chang, Jolene M. Draper, Anouk van den Bout, Ellen Kephart, Hannah Maul-Newby, Yvonne Vasquez, Jason Woodbury, Savanna Randi, Martina Pedersen, Maeve Nave, Scott La, Natalie Gallagher, Molly M. McCabe, Namrita Dhillon, Isabel Bjork, Michael Luttrell, Frank Dang, John B. MacMillan, Ralph Green, Elizabeth MillerAuston M. Kilpatrick, Olena Vaske, Michael D. Stone, Jeremy R. Sanford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The systematic screening of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic individuals is a powerful tool for controlling community transmission of infectious disease on college campuses. Faced with a paucity of testing in the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many universities developed molecular diagnostic laboratories focused on SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic testing on campus and in their broader communities. We established the UC Santa Cruz Molecular Diagnostic Lab in early April 2020 and began testing clinical samples just five weeks later. Using a clinically-validated laboratory developed test (LDT) that avoided supply chain constraints, an automated sample pooling and processing workflow, and a custom laboratory information management system (LIMS), we expanded testing from a handful of clinical samples per day to thousands per day with the testing capacity to screen our entire campus population twice per week. In this report we describe the technical, logistical, and regulatory processes that enabled our pop-up lab to scale testing and reporting capacity to thousands of tests per day.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0261230
JournalPloS one
Issue number12 December
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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