Big news for the Shreveport medical community today. Several local business leaders have teamed up to donate more than a million dollars to LSU Health Shreveport’s Center of Excellence for Emerging Viral Threats (CEVT).

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Dewey and Gigi Corley through their Chaparral Foundation, together with Margaret Place Properties, Inc., Frances and William Comegys, III, and the Family of Aaron and Peggy Selber, have committed a combined $1.2 million to establish the first endowment for the program.

This is the largest private gift in the CEVT’s history. The group presented the gift to leadership of the CEVT and LSU Health Shreveport at a press conference at LSUHS.

“These gifts will provide fundamental support for the CEVT for years to come as we continue to address the public health needs of the North Louisiana region and beyond,” said LSU Health Shreveport Vice Chancellor for Research, Chris Kevil, PhD. “Support through gifts like this enhance our capability to address current and future viral threats and elevate LSU Health Shreveport’s position as a national leader in viral research.”

The Emerging Viral Threat (EVT) Laboratory was established in March 2020 to address the need for faster detection and processing of COVID-19 tests, making it the first testing lab to be established at an academic medical center in Louisiana. In December 2020, the LSU Board of Supervisors and the Louisiana Board of Regents designated the lab a Center of Excellence. Since its inception, the CEVT has processed 547,344 COVID-19 PCR tests, administered 118,307 COVID-19 vaccines, and sequenced more than 10,000 SARS-CoV-2 genomes representing 48% of all genomic sequencing in Louisiana.

“On behalf of the entire COVID-19 Strike Team, I am thankful for these community leaders who recognize the important work being done by the CEVT,” said John Vanchiere, MD, PhD, Associate Director of the CEVT and Director of the LSUHS COVID-19 Strike Team. “This gift will allow for the CEVT’s continued success in combating COVID-19 and serving the community.”

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