State of Alaska Virology Laboratory

1051 Sheenjek Drive

State of Alaska Virology Laboratory

Photo by JR Ancheta, UAF University Relations

This state-owned building provides opportunities for collaboration between state and UAF researchers in the areas of animal and human health. The building opened on June 15, 2009. The facility features special labs with equipment designed to protect researchers and the public from dangerous infectious diseases. The lab is equipped to handle new techniques in virus detection. It is connected through the basement and ground levels to the UAF Biological and Research Diagnostics facility, providing collaboration opportunities for scientists within both organizations.

In March 2020, the lab began serving as the state’s primary testing facility for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic that shut down much of the nation and world for more than a year.

The virology lab, the only one in the state, conducted about 45,000 tests annually, pre-pandemic. It provides statewide viral diagnostic services that aid in the diagnosis and prevention of human diseases. Often the lab in Fairbanks is the only facility in the state with the proper equipment or expertise to test for certain viruses, such as rabies.