Baptist Health Paducah lab demonstrates resourcefulness during COVID-19

May 14, 2021

Team developed VTM recipe to share with other Baptist Health facilities.

Lorne Childress 2021(Paducah, Ky.) May 14, 2021  In early spring 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an alert about the shortage of viral transport media (VTM), the liquid substance that preserves clinical samples for testing and storage. The intense demand for this key component necessary for COVID-19 testing had overwhelmed manufacturers.

With that alert, the CDC also published a VTM recipe that used a few basic ingredients.

“I thought it looked simple enough to do,” said Lorne Childress, lab director at Baptist Health Paducah, so he ordered the ingredients. “I jumped on it pretty quick because I knew we needed to do something so that testing wouldn’t come to a screeching halt because we didn’t have any media.”

Once he concocted a batch of VTM, Childress and his staff put the “homemade” solution through a validation process of several steps to ensure that it was effective. When it proved to be good for use, he shared the recipe for ordering the ingredients with lab staff at other Baptist Health facilities.

“The recipe makes a large amount, so when Baptist Health Madisonville was running low, I sent them part of a batch with our courier,” Childress said.

Childress said before the pandemic, it was easy to take for granted that certain necessary supplies would always be there.

“It’s good to know that we could make it again if we needed to,” Childress said.