CBIA BizCast: Tracking COVID-19 Variants with Jackson Labs
CBIA BizCast host Ali Warshavsky speaks with Dr. Charles Lee, director of The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine in Farmington.
Lee’s team is responsible for determining which COVID-19 variants are present in Connecticut, using genomic sequencing to identify strains in positive samples.
The state is using resources like Jackson Labs to sequence 25% of all positive cases to determine how many cases of the original variant, Delta, or Omicron cases there are in Connecticut.
“The entire length of the virus is 30,000 bases so we sequence the entire 30,000 bases and look for the changes along all 30,000 bases,” Lee said.
“Of course doing that by hand is a nearly impossible task—we have computers that help us do that quickly.”
They then notify the state lab of which variants they detect. Lee said they primarily analyze positive tests from nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Ninety-nine percent of the variants analyzed recently were the Delta strain of the virus.
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