The Texas Department of State Health Services is partnering with universities and labs to track and analyze COVID-19 variants in Texas.
Researchers will create a variant network to study COVID-19 samples from around the state.
"It is important that we know which SARS-CoV-2 variants are here in Texas, no matter where in Texas they are appearing," said Jennifer Shuford, MD, Chief State Epidemiologist and co-chair of the network's steering committee. "By establishing a network of sequencing labs and analytical teams, we can use the skill and scientific knowhow in our state to understand how COVID-19 is changing in Texas, how it might affect our communities, and how we can best keep Texans healthy and safe," Shuford said.
They say it will provide a better picture of emerging variants and the ones already circulating.
The Network is expected to increase current sequencing in Texas by at least 25%.
DSHS has contracted with The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth Houston) School of Public Health to coordinate with academic centers and commercial laboratories from around the state.
UTHealth School of Public Health will also collaborate with the Meyers Lab at UT Austin to develop reliable strategies for selecting samples from around the state to ensure novel and existing variants in Texas are identified.