A state lab and its employees in Montana are playing a special role in ending the spread of the coronavirus, and you may have never heard of their existence.

The Laboratory Services Bureau is a partner in the Laboratory Response Network of labs across the United States, and it has been tasked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with gaining expertise in testing and preparing to respond to emergencies, including the coronavirus pandemic.

Four clinical lab specialists were initially qualified and selected to run the testing, but this force is set to increase as other specialists are currently undertaking training. These workers – on site for a mixed and demanding schedule of early mornings, late night, and weekends – maintain quality assurance and control requirements, ensuring the accuracy of the tests they perform.

“Without these public employees’ experience and expertise, our state would not have been able to ramp up needed testing protocols and respond as quickly to reduce the number of new infections, a top priority,” says Montanna state senator and chemist Jill Cohenour.

Read more about the Laboratory Services Bureau specialists and their important and vital work here.