HudsonAlpha’s genomic expertise leading to better understanding of SARS-CoV-2’s impact to the State of Alabama

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.