EAGAN, MN-The American Red Cross will close its national testing laboratory here next spring as part of a national restructuring effort. The move affects 75 employees at the decade-old lab, who may be offered jobs at North Central Red Cross operations in St. Paul.

The Eagan lab is one of four national testing laboratories that will be closed across the country. The others to be closed are in Atlanta, San Diego and Dedham, MA. The Red Cross does not know yet what it will do with the 25,000-sf local lab it owns at 2919 Eagandale Blvd. Because Red Cross leases land elsewhere in the Twin Cities, it may consider moving operations into the closed lab or it may sell it, says Jack Sheehan, a Red Cross spokesman.

The main objective of the closing is to streamline operations, save money and take advantage of Red Cross’ excess lab capacity. Blood and associated products are like any other drug and American Red Cross competes for business with private blood banks for customers, so costs need to be kept under control.

In addition, the Eagan lab does not have nucleic acid testing, a more sensitive procedure used to test blood for the last five years. As a result, he blood must be shipped out for further testing elsewhere, Sheehan says.

The lab is expected to close by March 31, and testing will be moved to other Red Cross laboratories in Detroit, St. Louis, Charlotte, NC, Philadelphia and Portland, OR.

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