Research underway on how COVID-19 variants are spreading in Florida

Doctors are doing in-depth research about the spread of coronavirus in Central Florida.

As three variants of COVID-19 have found their way to Florida, including the highly contagious U.K. variant, AdventHealth is taking an extremely close look at the virus to find out which variants are in Central Florida specifically.

"Certain variants spread more quickly than others and so understanding if those variants are in your community really helps physicians and healthcare leaders plan and prepare for the future," Dr. Wesley Walker, the AdventHealth Genomics Program Director, said.

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Dr. Walker explained that genomic sequencing lays out the blueprint and instructions for a living organism. It also allows them to narrow down on which genes could potentially be disease-causing.

He said that his team is currently doing that with local COVID-19 samples, looking at the different spike antigens to figure out what variants are here and how widespread they are.

AdventHealth will share its findings when the results come in.

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"I think ultimately, there will be evidence in terms of how different variants respond potentially to different treatments," Dr. Walker predicts.

He also said that the pandemic is teaching people about the extraordinary power of studying genes and how they interact with our health, citing that "genomic surveillance is going to be very important going forward and I think it's one of the big lessons that we're going to take out of COVID."

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