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.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Arizona's Aliyah Alpert, 13, moved on to the quarterfinals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee on ...

Danny Shapiro

Arizona girl moves on to quarterfinals of Scripps National Spelling Bee

One of Arizona's two participants in the Scripps National Spelling Bee is moving on to Wednesday's quarterfinals after perfect preliminary rounds.

25 minutes ago

A woman will be arrested after a bomb was found at a Phoenix apartment complex on May 27, 2024. (AP...

Woman to be arrested for bomb threat at Phoenix apartment complex

A woman will be arrested for a bomb threat that was made at a Phoenix apartment complex on Monday, authorities said.

2 hours ago

From left, alleged Arizona fake electors Michael and Kelli Ward appear with their attorney during t...

Kevin Stone

Poll: More Arizona voters think alleged fake GOP electors are guilty than innocent

The 11 Arizona Republicans charged in the state’s fake elector case appear to be losing in the court of public opinion, even within their own party, according to a new poll.

3 hours ago

Man dead after being struck by a vehicle in Goodyear...

Speed may have been factor in fatal vehicle-pedestrian collision in Goodyear

A pedestrian died after being struck by a vehicle that a juvenile was driving in Goodyear around 6 p.m. on Monday, authorities said.

5 hours ago

Southbound I-17 was closed at Indian School Road in Phoenix for a police situation on May 28, 2024....

Southbound I-17 reopened at Indian School Road in Phoenix after police situation

The southbound lanes of Interstate 17 were closed at Indian School Road in Phoenix on Tuesday morning for a police situation, authorities said.

6 hours ago

Refuge Fire: Arson suspect arrested, given multiple charges...

Serena O'Sullivan

Arizona man accused of starting fire in wildlife refuge near California border

The Yuma County Sheriff's Office said a man accused of starting the Refuge Fire near the Arizona-California border was arrested.

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.



Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

Taiwan microchip company grants TGen funds for COVID variant tracking