Northeastern to outsource portion of COVID-19 test processing to Broad Institute


Samantha Barry

All Northeastern students will be tested at the Cabot Testing Center.

Kelly Chan, editor-in-chief

As Northeastern prepares for students to move back to campus, the university has decided to send some COVID-19 tests to the Broad Institute for processing starting tomorrow in order to supplement Northeastern’s lab in Burlington, Massachusetts. 

Cabot Physical Education Center, the university’s on-campus testing center, has been in operation for the past two weeks, conducting an approximate average of 1,300 tests per day. By the time all students have arrived, Northeastern expects for that number to more than double, reaching Cabot’s capacity of 5,000 tests per day. 

“Testing is such a critical part of the university’s reopening plan that it makes sense to build redundancies and ensure that test samples are analyzed in a timely manner,” Michael Armini, Northeastern’s senior vice president of external affairs, wrote in an email to The News. “So far our testing program has been very successful and we’re ensuring that this continues to be the case.”

The university has been discussing this decision with the institute for months already, Armini said. A previous [email protected] article from July 13 also disclosed the university’s intention to use a third-party testing facility. Armini declined to comment on what specific percentage of COVID-19 tests will be sent to the Broad Institute.

At the end of March, the Broad Institute transformed a lab, which was previously used for genomics and clinical processing, into a large COVID-19 testing facility. Since March 25, the Broad Institute has processed over 905,000 tests. It has a current capacity of 50,000 tests per day and expects rapid turnaround times, typically within 24 hours.

The Broad Institute, which is affiliated with Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has also partnered with several other colleges and universities throughout the Boston area, including Emerson College and the New England Conservatory.

This story was updated at 10:30 p.m. to reflect previous messaging from a [email protected] article.