Alpha, gamma, and delta. These covid-19 variants have been making headlines all around the world.
But, in this Florida lab, researchers are using the power of collaboration to strengthen the response against COVID-19 variants within the U.S.
“It really takes a number of different collaborators from public health agencies at a local, state and federal level,” said Dr. Taj Azarian, assistant professor of medicine at the Burnett School of Medical Sciences, “along with academics at public and private institutions, and private industry partners to really mount a robust public health response to a pandemic.”
That’s why these researchers are building a network where they can collect samples from places that normally wouldn’t submit COVID data, such as schools, urgent care centers, and private hospitals to better track how a variant emerges.
“So, it really is focusing on genomic surveillance of the virus,” Azarian said. “Then interrogate it to understand how the virus is spreading, how it’s changing over time.”
And detect changes early to strategize a better response, not only for the next variant but also the next pandemic.
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