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MSU retires COVID-19 Early Detection Program, touts it as a success

test kit
Stan Sochay
MSU implemented a saliva-based COVID screening test in the summer of 2020.

Michigan State University has ended a nearly two-year early detection program that screened for cases of COVID-19.

The university implemented a voluntary saliva-based testing system in the summer of 2020.

Participation was later mandated for anyone who’d not completed their vaccine regimen or who claimed a health or religious exemption.

Dr. Jack Lipton chairs the Department of Translational Neuroscience at MSU and directed the program.

His team ran more than 350,000 samples and found tens of thousands of positive results.

“We tested the program initially in community clinics that were helping us to test and perfect our process,” Lipton said. “We were able to benefit the community outside of MSU, the larger MSU community. So, I think overall it was a nightmare and a great program.”

MSU discontinued the Early Detection Program last week, citing successful vaccination rates among the campus community.

“I think that we’ve done the best that we could with respect to the ability to test and mitigate severe infection,” Lipton said. “But at this point, I think it’s starting to become less of a centralized effort and more of a home effort.”

Lipton says MSU is continuing other COVID surveillance measures like wastewater monitoring, adding that efforts will ramp up in the fall once students return to campus.

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