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Answering the call: SIUC helping state produce viral transport liquid in fight against COVID-19
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Answering the call: SIUC helping state produce viral transport liquid in fight against COVID-19


Scott Hamilton-Brehm, a microbiology professor at Southern Illinois University, along with students and volunteers, has answered the call to help the State of Illinois in their COVID-19 testing mission.

The state contracted SIU Carbondale to produce 40,000 vials of viral transport medium, a solution used to transport swab specimens taken from prospective COVID-19 patients.

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The liquid plays an important role in COVID-19 testing, as medical personnel place swabs from suspected cases in vials containing the solution before capping, sealing and sending them to testing facilities. The boom in testing across the country has put the substance in high demand.

"It's our duty to help any way we can," Hamilton-Brehm said. "The State of Illinois asked for help and we're answering the call and saving lives." The first shipment of 10,000 vials was transported to Springfield on Tuesday morning.

Hamilton-Brehm said he is looking for volunteers experienced in laboratory protocols to help prepare more vials in the coming weeks. He can be reached at

COVID-19 numbers in Southern Illinois

This information will be updated daily with the latest numbers from local health departments in Southern Illinois. The numbers reflect new lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in the last day, total cases, new COVID-19 deaths reported in the last day, total COVID-19 deaths, and recoveries. Some health departments don't report numbers on weekends or holidays. A dash indicates a county's health department did not make a report as of deadline.

County New Cases Total Cases New Deaths Total Deaths Recovered
Alexander 0 256 2 3 176
Franklin 40 2215 1 27 1313
Gallatin 8 231 0 2 127
Hamilton 11 411 0 4 367
Hardin 0 164 1 2 78
Jackson 39 2826 0 32 2380
Jefferson 49 2047 0 47 1760
Johnson 23 770 0 3 428
Massac 12 608 1 4 209
Perry 58 1227 1 32 820
Pope 2 107 0 1 52
Pulaski 8 436 0 2 268
Randolph 50 2409 0 27 2101
Saline 19 1267 0 26 530
Union 27 1208 0 23 716
Williamson 58 3843 0 77 2240
White 18 716 0 9 281

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Brian Munoz is a correspondent for The Southern.

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