MAKO Medical Laboratories, under CEO Chad Price, has recently identified the first case of a new variant of the COVID-19 virus in North Carolina. The so-called Denmark “Cluster Five” variant of the novel coronavirus was found in the state last week.
The state currently has no MAKO-identified instances of the “Cluster Five” variants, but it has one B 1.1.7 and B.1.351 variant. This is the latest mutation of the virus to have been identified by the leading healthcare company as it continues with its research efforts.
The new variant of COVID-19 can be traced back to Danish farmed minks, according to information from the World Health Organization. With four separate mutations in the spike protein, which is what the virus uses to enter cells, the strain could cause real concern in the medical world. Experts believe that, since many of the vaccines are based on the spike protein, they may not work on the new variant and others that continue to mutate.
“As we continue our sequencing of indicated samples, we have found a continued rise in variant occurrences. Over the past week, indicated samples are now returning positive variant cases at a 50 percent rate, up from a 25 percent rate last week. The information we are collecting is shared directly with state health officials to assist in understanding the presence of the variants in communities across the country,” says Steve Hoover, vice president of laboratory operations at MAKO Medical.
Last year, when the pandemic started, the team at MAKO Medical Laboratories switched its primary focus from general medical testing services to COVID-19 testing and research. CEO Chad Price and his team of experts made the decision to start offering both testing and research services to the wider community. The innovative healthcare company aims to help fight the novel coronavirus and offer groundbreaking research wherever possible.
MAKO Medical Laboratories has core values centered on serving the community and being 100 percent transparent. With that in mind, making the move toward testing for new variants of the COVID-19 virus was an obvious choice. The company has expanded over the last year to accommodate the mounting number of tests. Through expert testing and genome sequencing, the team has also found cases of new strains.
The experts at MAKO Medical Laboratories use the new next-generation sequencing (NGS) research panel in their testing. The innovative system allows researchers to test for new strains and mutations of the virus quickly by mapping more than nine percent of the SARS-Cov-2 genome. This is the method that allowed the researchers to identify the U.K. B 1.1.7 variant of the virus and the subsequent B.1.351 variants.
Accredited by the College of American Pathologists, MAKO Medical Laboratories has performed more than five million novel coronavirus tests since April of last year. The company uses industry-leading testing assays, including the Applied Biosystems TaqPath Sequencing research panel, to identify new strains of the virus. Thanks to these systems, the researchers are ahead of the game when it comes to testing for mutations of the novel coronavirus in North Carolina and beyond.
Covering more than 70,000 square feet, MAKO Medical Laboratories has two leading testing facilities in the state. One of the company’s premises is situated in Raleigh while the other is in Henderson. In response to the unforeseen COVID-19 outbreak last year, Chad Price and his team made the decision to expand the Henderson facility. That move doubled the lab’s daily testing capacity from 50,000 to 100,000 tests. Aside from that, the MAKO Medical Laboratories team has expanded from 350 employees to more than 1,000.
The expert team at MAKO Medical is dedicated to helping in the fight against COVID-19. In August of last year, the company scored 100 percent on CAP COVID Proficiency Testing, demonstrating its ongoing commitment to high-quality lab results. As the pandemic continues, the staff at MAKO Medical Laboratories will keep providing tests and research.
About MAKO Medical Laboratories
Supported by an expert team of doctors and doctorate holders and specializing in methodology development and pathological services, MAKO Medical Laboratories is a truly innovative healthcare brand. Prioritizing patients, offering complete transparency, and giving back to the wider community, the company has become synonymous with trust. The recently expanded 70,000 square feet of laboratory space means that the company is well-positioned to offer leading testing services during the COVID-19 pandemic.