While many Americans are now vaccinated, COVID-19 mutations remain a threat. By their nature, viruses change to survive. As new variants arise, protecting the greater population will prove to be an increasingly difficult challenge. Fortunately, a Raleigh testing company is leading the way in researching and tracking the novel coronavirus variants and reporting back on them.
Led by entrepreneur Chad Price, MAKO Medical Laboratories recently landed a Center for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) contract to keep track of new and emerging COVID-19 variants. The company will be one of the brands spearheading the battle to ensure that vaccines don’t fall behind the ever-changing virus. Since the outbreak began, MAKO Medical Laboratories has processed a large amount of the nation’s PCR test for the COVID-19 virus. With that in mind, the expert team of PhDs and doctors are well placed to lead this research.
“Some of those mutations affect or could affect how well the vaccine works down the road,” Steve Hoover, the vice president of operations at MAKO Medical Laboratories, recently told ABC11. While nearly half of all Americans have been vaccinated, the truth of the matter is that it’s not smooth sailing from here on. Without groundbreaking research and tracking into the COVID-19 variants, it is unclear how effective the vaccine will continue to be. “The B 117 variant that has been in the news a lot, the UK variant. That variant has about 17 mutations,” continued Hoover in the interview.
Technicians at the MAKO Medical in Henderson, Vance County have been hard at work on this timely project. The group has been performing DNA sequencing on tests from all around the United States. The aim is to identify as many novel coronavirus variants as possible and keep track of any new mutations as they change.
“Once we have a positive result, those samples get brought over here,” Matthew Tugwell, MAKO Medical Laboratories’ medical director, told ABC11 in an interview while walking through a section of the lab that houses several different types of analysis machinery. But while processing 100,000 PCR tests a day from 43 states, it just isn’t possible to look for variants in all the positive results, according to MAKO which has been spot tracking variants on its own since January.
Understanding how vital this testing is in the fight against COVID-19, the CDC has recently boosted its funding. Put simply, that means that companies like MAKO Medical Laboratories now have the means to expand their research capabilities and offer detailed information to help vaccine manufacturers across the country.
“We just couldn’t afford to sequence everything. But with the CDC coming in as a monetary backer and a tremendous partner, it’s allowing us to sequence up to 5,000 positives a week,” Hoover told ABC11, highlighting how important this work is when it comes to protecting us all from COVID-19. “Vaccine manufacturers will alter their vaccines over time where they have a stronger product as we get smarter with what we’re doing.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic began last year, CEO Chad Price made the landmark decision to change the approach of the brand’s testing labs. The expert team of technicians has been utilizing sequencing processes to analyze thousands of samples from tests gathered from 43 states. The testing has been a success in identifying a selection of the virus’ mutations, including the B.1.1.7, B.1.351, and B.1.429 variants.
As new COVID-19 mutations emerge, the MAKO Medical Laboratories team is geared up to face the challenge. Not only will this research help the CDC and vaccine manufacturers in the coming months, but it also ensures that experts are more prepared should another pandemic break out in the future.
About MAKO Medical Laboratories
Boasting an expert team of nationally recognized doctors and PhDs, MAKO Medical Laboratories specializes in methodology development and pathological services. The game-changing testing company and labs prioritize patients by offering them complete transparency.
Founded in 2014 by Chad Price, Adam Price, and Josh Arant, the College of American Pathologists (CAP) accredited laboratory aims to disrupt the sector while supporting veterans by employing them as delivery drivers. The brand combines a wealth of new technology including robotics, app platforms, and cloud-based tech. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the laboratories have adapted their services to offer accurate testing to the local community.
Chad Price is the CEO of MAKO Medical Laboratories. He has had a long entrepreneurial career previously co-founding BrideGenie and founding Element Services Group Mechanical LLC. He has played a major role in starting Cary Reconstruction and is a board member for Trill A.I. Moreover, he currently offers tailored consulting services to companies embarking on new mergers or primed for growth.