ARIZONA NEWS

Taiwan microchip company grants TGen funds for COVID variant tracking

Jun 8, 2021, 1:15 PM | Updated: Jun 9, 2021, 1:57 pm
(AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)...
(AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
(AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)

PHOENIX– Phoenix-based Translational Genomics Research Institute announced Monday it had received a grant from the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. to track variants of COVID-19.

The grant for TSMC, who is building a $12 billion plant in the Valley, will attempt to boost TGen’s efforts to sequence the genomes of different COVID-19 samples within the Arizona population, according to a press release.

TGen is also under contract with the Arizona Department of Health Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to sequence the samples. The government organizations are monitoring for the appearance of mutations and variants that could increase COVID-19’s virulence.

TGen’s Arizona COVID-19 Sequencing Dashboard includes over 21,000 sequenced genomes of positive cases in the state, according to the release.

The TSMC grant will accelerate TGen’s goal of providing a genomic sequence for each new COVID-19 variant in Arizona, the release said.

“While the numbers of new infections, hospitalizations and deaths plummet as more Arizonans are vaccinated, we cannot let down our guard as we continue to monitor the changing nature of this coronavirus, but also prepare for whatever the microbial world throws our way in the future,” Dr. David Engelthaler, director of TGen’s infectious disease division, said in the release.

TGen did not disclose the value of the grant.

Since the company is providing a detailed molecular analysis of COVID-19, TGen is able to track the specific virus variants involved in each case, and officials hope to use this information to identify mutations that may lead to vaccine breakthroughs.

Even though officials recognized that the current research has a significantly regional perspective, TGen plans to publicly release the laboratory procedures developed with the grant in order to enable replication of their sequencing methods, which will further improve the global pandemic response.

“Our long term goal is to ‘democratize’ sequencing, to decrease the costs and time and make the data accessible and actionable — in essence to make our society more pandemic-ready by providing rapid ‘pathogen intelligence’ to clinicians and public health officials,” Dr. Engelthaler said in the release.

“TSMC’s support will help us build a 21st century genomic infectious disease surveillance system in Arizona and beyond.”

Arizona News

A certified medical assistant prepares doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center...
KTAR.com

Arizona reports 2,579 new COVID-19 cases, 6 more deaths Sunday

Arizona health officials on Sunday reported 2,579 new COVID-19 cases and six additional deaths from the disease.
10 hours ago
(Cave Creek Museum Photo)...
KTAR.com

Cave Creek Museum to kick off 2021-2022 season this October

The Cave Creek Museum is set to kick off the 2021-2022 season this October with new collections, exhibits and special events, officials announced.
10 hours ago
(Photo courtesy of the city of Glendale)...
SuElen Rivera

Downtown Glendale launches mobile app to navigate city, benefit merchants

The Glendale Chamber of Commerce on Thursday launched a mobile app intended to help visitors in Downtown Glendale navigate around shops and merchants promote their products.
10 hours ago
Phoenix Fire Department photo...
KTAR.com

Firefighters rescue injured hiker on South Mountain in helicopter

A man who fell six feet during his hike on South Mountain got transported via a helicopter to a local ambulance.
1 day ago
Near 12th Street and Northern Avenue, Phoenix. (Twitter Photo/@Crossfire923)...
SuElen Rivera

Parts of Valley sees light showers, more chances of rain this weekend

As monsoon season wraps up, parts of the Valley received some rain Friday evening heading into the weekend.
1 day ago
A woman gets a COVID-19 Pfizer booster shot in the "Im Lauesch" nursing home of Strasbourg, eastern...
KTAR.com

Arizona reports 2,916 new COVID-19 cases, 69 more deaths Saturday

Arizona health officials on Saturday reported 2,916 new COVID-19 cases and 69 additional deaths from the disease.
1 day ago
Taiwan microchip company grants TGen funds for COVID variant tracking