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Yale doctor sees genetic sequencing of variant strains key to getting ahead of COVID-19 virus


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Knowing which variant strains of COVID-19 are where is key to possibly saving lives. That is the value of genomic sequencing according to Doctor Manisha Juthani a Yale Medicine Infectious Disease Specialist.

“In the United States up until now, we really have not had wide-scale genomic testing. Here in Connecticut the Department of Public Health, the Yale School of Public Health, other groups here at Yale, at the hospital have been working to do genomic testing,” says Dr. Juthani.

The testing looks for known variants – and potentially homegrown variants.

“The CDC has set up this system called NS3 and basically it is a national surveillance system for identification of variants of the SARSCOV2 virus, which causes COVID-19.”

“In January, it seems to be that there was a major commitment and recognition that this is going to be the wave of the future and be able to identify in real-time what new variants might be occurring here in the United States.”

Dr. Juthani says the variant information can be studied along with hospitalizations and deaths, to determine how dangerous the variant truly is.

“In the last few months, it’s clear that this is more of a priority and it’s clear that this is something that we’re going to need to get ahead of to make sure we can really identify what types of variants are circulating.”

She adds that public health measures such as wearing masks and distancing work on any strain of the virus and encourages everyone to continue safe behavior.

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