Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. announced today that the company will help Chico, CA-based Enloe Medical Center, a local community hospital, perform COVID-19 tests by producing viral transport medium in its brewery lab. The partnership will allow the hospital to increase the availability of local COVID-19 testing.
Viral transport medium (VTM) is a mixture that preserves clinical samples, like a nose and mouth swab, for testing. VTM is a necessary tool for COVID-19 sample collection and is in short supply nationwide, but Sierra Nevada regularly produces a variety of medium in its lab to perform quality tests on its beer and beverages. The brewery lab has begun production of viral transport medium for this purpose in addition to its usual production and quality testing.
Sierra Nevada is known for its comprehensive quality assurance program and state-of-the-art laboratory. Brewery founder and president, Ken Grossman, communicated with health officials and Enloe leadership at the start of the crisis to discuss local public health needs and potential gaps. The need for VTM was front and center in the crisis, and well within the capabilities of Sierra Nevada’s lab. The brewery got to work soon thereafter and has now started VTM production and delivery.
“We are extremely grateful to local businesses like Sierra Nevada, that selflessly set aside their own business needs to help address this national health crisis,” said Enloe Medical Center President and CEO Mike Wiltermood. “Their support to increase the availability of local testing is one more example of how local business leaders support community health.” “We’re so pleased that we have the equipment and expertise to help supply tools for testing,” said Sierra Nevada Vice President Sierra Grossman. “This is an unprecedented situation that affects all of us, and we are honored to reach beyond our industry to help our community. We’re so grateful for the dedicated and committed healthcare workers at the front of this crisis and are proud to help them in any way that we can.”
Sierra Nevada hopes that this initiative might be replicable by businesses in other areas of the country and worldwide in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.