TGen, NAU And UA Form COVID-19 Research Union

Published: Wednesday, April 8, 2020 - 5:15pm

TGen, Northern Arizona University and University of Arizona have formed the Arizona COVID-19 Genomics Union.

The collaboration will use genomics, "big data" analysis and computer models to analyze and track coronavirus strains.

David Engelthaler, co-director of TGen North in Flagstaff, says they've already sequenced more than 100 Arizona cases.

"Strains are coming from different parts of the world. And sometimes we see these one-offs and then there's no other cases from it. And then sometimes a case will come in, or a strain will come in, and actually spread like wildfire, like you would expect," he said.

The former state epidemiologist and state biodefense coordinator will coordinate the organization's genomic sequencing of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the COVID-19 disease.

Paul Keim, executive director of NAU's Pathogen and Microbiome Institute and co-director of TGen North, will serve as ACGU director.

Michael Worobey, head of UA's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, will contribute his expertise with viral pandemics.

The researchers hope to provide critical information to support coronavirus testing, diagnostics, and drug and vaccine development.

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