Multiple variants of COVID-19 are across the state, according to OSU studies

CORVALLIS, Ore. — Oregon State University’s Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing has detected multiple variants of COVID-19 around the state.

The center says genetic sequencing has been running on all positive COVID-19 stool samples obtained from ‘TRACE’ project testing of individuals, along with wastewater from OSU campuses.

The sequencing has recently revealed the highly contagious U.K. strain in a sample from Bend. The center’s director, Brett Tyler, says the OSU lab has completed genetic sequencing on more than 1,000 samples.

The sequencing is being done in hopes of understanding COVID-19 disease transmission, severity, vaccine effectiveness and treatment resistance.

“With these rapidly spreading variants on our doorsteps, that’s creating a race between the vaccinations and the spread of the new strains. What we’re hoping is that people will get more aware of these variants and really double down on their efforts to slow the spread,” Tyler tells NBC5 News.

Tyler says additional funding from the Oregon Health Authority has recently been granted to expand sequencing efforts across every county in the state.

Approximately 40-60 samples are currently being sequenced per week.

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