SHREVEPORT, La -- The Emerging Viral Threats Lab at LSU Health Shreveport plays a big role in COVID-19 testing and community vaccinations.
But another important role it plays involves the identification of COVID-19 mutations and the variants they cause.
The way variants are found is by studying the genomic sequencing of the virus. In COVID-19, mutations are typically found on the spike protein, which are the arm-like structures protruding from the virus.
LSU Health’s EVT Lab is playing a large role in these studies.
“The real reason that this entity exists is to do research and to do the COVID-19 genomics surveillance, said Dr. G.E. Ghali, the chancellor for LSU Health Shreveport. “And we have one of the most robust genomic sequencing programs in the southeast United States.”
Discovering variants is a key part in stopping the spread of the virus.
“The importance of that is it really tells you where they're coming from, where they're going, what part of the country they're coming from and how they're transmitted,” explained Ghali. “So it's a very, very vital piece of information. And we've sequenced 1,818 of them, so we're one of the top in the country.”
The work of LSU Health’s EVT Lab is an integral part of learning more about COVID-19 in order to create treatments and vaccines to fight it.