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COVID19 Updates

Last Updated 4/02/20

STAT/Standard Testing for Living Donors and Recipients

In response to the COVID19 pandemic, the NKR has partnered with Viracor and NORA to implement a testing solution for testing donors and recipients for COVID19 using a nasal swab prior to surgery. This solution is available to all transplant centers, even those who are not currently Member Centers. This test requires the transplant center to send samples via FedEx or courier to Viracor’s lab. This test can be used for all donors and recipients, across all organ systems, for both living and deceased donor transplants. To date, all test results have been negative. To view a sample of a completed COVID19 test report, click here.

STAT Deceased Donor Organ Recipient Testing

To test the recipients of deceased donor organs, centers can utilize the STAT option in our COVID19 testing system. All STAT tests in support of deceased donor transplants were processed within the 24-hour targeted turnaround. To date, all STAT test results have been negative. This testing option can be utilized regardless of the type of organ being received.

STAT Deceased Donor Testing

Our partner, VRL-Eurofins, has implemented an industry solution for COVID19 testing for deceased donors across all organ systems. If your OPO cannot perform COVID19 testing for deceased donors, please ask them to contact VRL. OPOs should be able to provide STAT (24-hour) testing on deceased donors by leveraging the VRL solution and their existing same-day courier vendors, such as NORA, Quick, etc.

Home Blood Draw Service

Mobile phlebotomy blood draws are now available, allowing patients/donors to avoid going to the hospital for pre-op and follow-up blood draws. This allows both donors and patients to avoid hospital and local lab visits where the risk of COVID19 exposure may be greater.

Remote Donation

We have had donors request remote donation to avoid traveling to a distant city for donation surgery. This may be of interest to other donors who want to avoid COVID19 risks related to travel. Remote donation allows donors to donate their kidney at a transplant center close to them. The transplanted organ is then shipped to the recipient’s transplant center through our proven logistics systems already in place. Please contact your center liaison for more information.

Status of Living Donor Transplant Programs

For a list of NKR Member Center living donor transplant closures, please visit the Center Listing Service by clicking here.

Test Usage

COVID19 test kits can be used to test living donors, recipients of living donor organs and potential recipients of deceased donor organs. This COVID19 test can be used across all organ systems. Centers are planning to test both donors and recipients 2-3 weeks prior to surgery and again 2-4 days prior to surgery. Viracor is ramping up to handle 150,000 tests per month and they are planning to ship another 5,000 test kits to the NKR in 1-2 weeks. We do not anticipate a shortage of test kits. To view the presentation that explains how the COVID19 testing process works from our Wednesday (3/18) network conference call, click here.

The standard test process requires the transplant center to ship the completed test kit via FedEx overnight shipping back to Viracor’s Kansas lab. The STAT test process requires NORA. When a STAT order is requested, an email will be sent to NORA with the center contact information. NORA will then contact the transplant center for pickup time/location and will check for commercial flights. If NORA thinks a charter flight will be required to achieve a 24-hour turnaround, NORA will propose the price of the charter to the transplant center and must get email authorization from the transplant center for the additional cost of the charter.

Testing Process

  1. All results must be reported to the patient’s local health department.
    1. Viracor will call the patient’s DOH if they get an address for the patient.
    2. Only POSITIVE samples will be sent to the CDC, unless otherwise requested.
  2. Testing can be performed on nasal passageway collections.
  3. Sample collection can only be performed by trained healthcare providers using appropriate PPE (personal protection equipment) per CDC guidelines.
  4. Standard test samples must be sent directly via overnight courier (morning delivery) to Viracor.
    1. The NKR is not providing a return shipping label to Viracor; the Member Center is responsible for this.
    2. Viracor’s lab address is on the kit.
    3. Viracor’s Client Services number: 1-800-305-5198.
    4. Turnaround time for standard test results is 12-18 hours from receipt of the sample at Viracor.
  5. STAT test samples will be picked up by the NORA courier service.
    1. Turnaround time for STAT test results is targeted for 24 hours (not guaranteed) from pickup of the sample. Charter flights can be ordered to expedite turnaround time.
  6. The sample must be tested within 4 days of the date/time of collection.
  7. Test results will be delivered digitally via the existing NKR serology platform.

The NKR will be holding approximately 2,000 kits in reserve so that we can immediately resupply test kits upon request. In the near term, we will ship in quantities of 10 test kits per box. To preserve available supply, we will only ship out additional test kits if a center has used at least 50% of their original shipment. For example, if a center received 10 test kits and has only run 2 tests, we will not ship more test kits. Once the center has run at least 5 tests, we will ship out additional test kits. We are expecting another shipment of 5,000 test kits from Viracor in early April.


Test Kit Components

Test Information: Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR
Tube: Red Top UTM conical tube w/beads and swabs by Hardy Diagnostic
Specimen Requirements: NP swab or nasal swab
Packaging: Swabs must be packaged in own biohazard bag with absorbent sheet
Shipping: Ambient, UN3373 Category B
Platform: Qualitative RT-PCR assay
Expected Ambient Stability: Between 48-96 hours
Quantity: 1 swab per kit with 10 kits in every 1 box ordered from the NKR
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