MAKO Medical Laboratories, a North Carolina lab, is partnering with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to offer next-generation sequencing of COVID-19 samples. The move will help to identify mutations and variants of the novel coronavirus, providing a treasure trove of research for the ongoing sequencing of SARS-CoV-2.
Led by entrepreneur Chad Price, MAKO Medical Laboratories has been on the front foot in the battle against the pandemic. Since the start of the year, the team has utilized sequencing processes to analyze more than 2,500 samples from tests gathered from 43 states. This research gives scientists a clear view of the virus and how it continually mutates. This system has been effective in identifying a wide variety of variants of the COVID-19 virus, including the B.1.1.7, B.1.351, and B.1.429 variants.
“The MAKO team is proud to partner with the Centers for Disease Control to provide sequencing services for samples from across the country. For the past year, our team has been committed to providing rapid, reliable results to patients and providers across forty-three states. We recognized the need to introduce sequencing for a portion of samples our team collected earlier this year and are honored to apply that experience in this partnership,” said Josh Arant, Chief Operating Officer, MAKO Medical Laboratories.
Since the outbreak began, researchers around the globe have been hard at work trying to analyze its multiple variants and mutations. Understanding how the COVID-19 virus is transforming allows these scientists to stay ahead of the game and protect the wider community. By its nature, any virus tends to mutate over time as it tries to survive. However, since officials have struggled to contain the SARS-CoV-2 spread, and much of the world’s population have not received vaccinations, understanding how the virus is changing is a top priority. Fortunately, thanks to strategic partnerships, MAKO Medical Laboratories is pioneering the way.
“Over the past several months, our sequencing team has identified the emergence of strains like the United Kingdom B.1.1.7, South African, and Denmark variants in states across the country. As new strains are defined, MAKO continues to sequence samples and provide much-needed data to public health professionals,” said Steve Hoover, Vice President of Laboratory Operations, MAKO Medical Laboratories.
The CDC recently launched a search for qualified laboratories to undertake genomic surveillance with samples from across the country. MAKO Medical Laboratories quickly stepped up to the challenge, having already used this process to identify mutations in local test samples. The leading healthcare brand has also partnered with the well-known life sciences company, Thermo Fisher Scientific. The move gives the labs access to high-capacity sequencing platforms, which will support both its current and future projects.
“MAKO Medical has played a key role to help scale up COVID-19 testing across the majority of U.S. states as one of the first labs to adopt our TaqPath COVID-19 Combo Kit more than a year ago. The expanded effort they are now undertaking by leveraging next-generation sequencing further supports the national initiative to ramp up surveillance efforts to track and curb the spread of emerging variants,” said Mark Stevenson, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Thermo Fisher Scientific.
Right now, the MAKO Medical Laboratories team uses Thermo Fisher’s Ion Torrent GeneStudio S5 Prime System. That means that the expert team of researchers can provide high-quality sequencing data in mere hours. Additionally, the researchers use the AmpliSeq SARS-CoV-2 Research Panel, allowing them to sequence more than 99% of the SARS-CoV-2 genome. The two MAKO Medical labs can currently sequence 6,000 samples per week. However, CEO Chad Price has ambitions to expand this capacity in the near future if it proves necessary.
“Congratulations to MAKO Medical on its new partnership with the CDC in the fight against COVID-19. The MAKO Medical team has been on the front lines fighting COVID-19 from the beginning of the pandemic. It is no wonder that when the CDC was looking for partners to conduct genetic tests to trace COVID-19 variants, it turned to MAKO Medical. I am so proud to have a local business like MAKO leading the fight against COVID-19,” said Congressman G.K. Butterfield.
About MAKO Medical Laboratories
Supported by an expert team of nationally recognized doctors and PhDs, MAKO Medical Laboratories specializes in methodology development and pathological services. The 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, the CEO of MAKO Medical Laboratories, 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.