Florida A&M University (FAMU) has announced plans to expand its COVID-19 testing capabilities. The historically Black college and university said it will join other HBCUs benefiting from a $25 million donation of diagnostic equipment, test kits, and supplies from Thermo Fisher Scientific, which introduced two SARS-CoV-2 antibody tests on October 12.
According to FAMU, through “The Just Project,” named after biologist Ernest Everett Just, the university will also receive technical support to process samples from other HBCUs, including Bethune-Cookman University, Edward Waters College, and Florida Memorial University.
“Florida A&M University is committed to testing our constituents during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said FAMU President Larry Robinson in a statement. “This partnership with Thermo Fisher allows us much needed testing capacity to help protect our students, faculty, and staff as well as those at our fellow HBCUs in Florida.”
Thermo Fisher has reportedly signed agreements with seven campuses that will serve as testing hubs and process samples from HBCUs across the country. In addition to FAMU, testing hubs include Tuskegee University, Howard University, Morehouse School of Medicine, Meharry Medical College, Xavier University, and Hampton University.
“We are proud The Just Project now includes FAMU, a highly regarded institution that had already demonstrated a sophisticated and comprehensive response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Michael Dubose, president of the Healthcare Market Division at Thermo Fisher Scientific told FAMU news.
Dubose, who described himself as ‘a proud FAMU alum’ said he recognizes the critical role HBCUs play. “This is why Thermo Fisher is committing to hire at least 500 students from these schools over the next three years to provide them a path toward careers in business, science, and engineering,” he added.