The Einstein lab produced 1.5 million VTM tubes, with 1.1 million distributed to roughly 20 hospitals throughout New York City and 400K to their own hospital system, Montefiore Health System. Production recently wrapped up on November 16th. The sleepless nights and long shifts have pushed many scientists to the brink of burnout, but they remained committed during the project, Dr. Shan said. The cause is too important not to.
Through Einstein’s efforts, more than 1 million New Yorkers were able to be tested, which may not have been otherwise possible. Each test can play a critical role in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
"We all feel tired," said Dr. Shan. "But once you realize that this is what the city needs, that this is what our neighbors need, you can fight through the exhaustion to do what you need to do to help."
That motivation hits close to home for many lab workers around the world. As COVID-19 cases continue to climb, some frontline workers in the lab have watched their loved ones battle the virus. Some have gotten sick themselves. Medical students switching between the lab and clinic have also seen the effects of their efforts firsthand, Dr. Shan adds.
"They're face to face with COVID-19 patients," she said. "They see so much suffering, and they bring those stories back to us. It helps us all stay motivated in the here and the now of this important work."