State of Alabama, HudsonAlpha and biotech companies working to track COVID-19 transmission
November 23, 2020 (Huntsville, Ala.) – HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology today announced the ongoing efforts in support of Alabama Governor Kay Ivey’s work to respond to and mitigate COVID-19. Through Alabama’s Coronavirus Relief Fund and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), $600,000 has been allocated to HudsonAlpha to perform genomic sequencing on positive SARS-CoV-2 samples from people across the state of Alabama.
“All of us at HudsonAlpha are grateful to the state of Alabama for this support to help strengthen our state’s response and planning for this pandemic,” said Rick Myers, PhD, President, Science Director and M. A. Loya Chair in Genomics at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. “HudsonAlpha’s genomic research scientists are fully committed to combating this deadly virus.”
There are multiple goals with this COVID-19 initiative including identifying different strains of SARS-CoV-2 virus from all regions of the state, generating longitudinal data to determine changes in the SARS-CoV-2 virus during the pandemic; identifying possible sources of new hotspots of infection in Alabama; surveying for possible emerging strains of virus which could have implications for vaccine development and vaccine efficiency; and adding an Alabama perspective to national and global COVID-19 initiatives through sequencing data generated in the state. The information generated will be provided to the Alabama Department of Public Health and other parties that have critical roles in responding to the pandemic.
Leading this project is co-director of HudsonAlpha’s Genome Sequencing Center, Jane Grimwood, PhD. “Through this initiative with the state, HudsonAlpha aims to provide actionable information to help the collective efforts of policymakers and frontline workers in the fight against the pandemic,” said Grimwood.
HudsonAlpha is currently working with Diatherix-Eurofins Laboratories (HudsonAlpha resident associate company) as provider of the COVID-19 samples. HudsonAlpha is engaging other sources to provide additional samples to extend geographic and demographic coverage throughout the state.
About HudsonAlpha: HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is a nonprofit institute dedicated to developing and applying scientific advances to health, agriculture, learning, and commercialization. Opened in 2008, HudsonAlpha’s vision is to leverage the synergy between discovery, education, medicine, and economic development in genomic sciences to improve the human condition around the globe. The HudsonAlpha biotechnology campus consists of 152 acres nestled within Cummings Research Park, the nation’s second largest research park. The state-of-the-art facilities co-locate nonprofit scientific researchers with entrepreneurs and educators. HudsonAlpha has become a national and international leader in genetics and genomics research and biotech education and fosters more than 40 diverse biotech companies on campus. To learn more about HudsonAlpha, visit hudsonalpha.org.