COVID Variant Sequencing in Tampa General Hospital Adds to International Understanding

TAMPA, Fla. – With Florida top the nation in COVID-19 variant situations, based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tampa General Hospital says it is home to one of the only labs in the state performing in-house sequencing tests. The work is taking place at the hospital’s esoteric testing laboratory and aims to identify new and emerging variants of the virus.What You Will Need To Know
TGH has one of the only labs in Florida performing in-house COVID-19 sequencing evaluations

Results uploaded to international research database

Laboratory scientific manager says variants important to monitor since their behaviour may differ from past breeds

“That was our aim: to try to understand, to find out the sort of versions we have circulating in our hospital and in the neighborhood,” said the laboratory’s scientific director, Dr. Suzane Silbertsaid
Silbert explained the job began in September, after one of their laboratory’s medical technologists came into her having a notion.
“‘We have a couple kits that will expire. What should you consider for us to start validating in the manner of a protocol to order the virus?’ And I told him,’Let’s do it.,'” she explained.

Dr. Suzane Silbert, scientific manager for Tampa General Hospital’s esoteric testing lab, stands alongside a sequencer bought thanks to a donation in the Tampa General Hospital Foundation. (Spectrum News)
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In accordance with Silbert, the samples examined are from hospital residual PCR tests that don’t require extra testing from sufferers. At first, her team was using a small sequencer that managed to sequence just eight samples weekly. A donation from the Tampa General Hospital Foundation allowed the laboratory to buy two bigger sequencers that are presently processing 50 samples a week but have the capacity for more. Results are uploaded to a worldwide research network.

This small sequencer initially used by the team in Tampa General Hospital can sequence eight samples per week. (Spectrum News)
“The global network promotes the sharing of all the sequences around the globe. So, a lot of labs that are doing exactly the identical function as people, they are uploading the sequences to the identical network,” explained Silbert. “We can discuss our outcome and try to comprehend the findings across the globe.”
Silbert explained this is critical, especially given what the healthcare community has observed together with the virus mutations that have been identified.
“They’re already associated to a severe disease, they are associated to disperse faster illness, they are, a few, related to the answer to some medicines,” Silbert said. “If we are aware that we’ve got them here, it is a way also to prepare how to deal with that, to keep on offering a good treatment.”
Silbert said she wasn’t able to speak on what variants are being viewed here in Tampa Bay. She noticed TGH is in the process of educating more people on the process so they can raise the amount of samples that may be sequenced each week.