KTBS-3 - The Center of Excellence for Emerging Viral Threats at LSU Health Shreveport plays a big role in COVID-19 testing and community vaccinations. But another important role it plays involves the identification of COVID-19 mutations and the variants they cause.
With the support of Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), scientists at LSU Health Shreveport established the Emerging Viral Threat (EVT) Laboratory to address the need for faster detection and processing of COVID-19 tests in March, 2020. The EVT Lab at LSUHS is the first in North Louisiana approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to conduct and analyze tests to determine if an individual has COVID-19. On December 16, 2020, the Louisiana Board of Regents unanimously supported a one-year initial approval of the Center for Emerging Viral Threats (CEVT) and one-year conditional designation as a Center of Research Excellence. The Board of Regents approval follows unanimous approval by the LSU Board of Supervisors to recognize the Center of Emerging Viral Threats as a Center of Excellence.
“The CEVT represents a central priority for the administration and faculty of LSU Health Shreveport through the engagement and intersection of critical public health needs, timely clinical and vaccine trials and delivery, timely and accurate COVID-19 testing, needed basic science and clinical research, key SARS-CoV2 and other pathogen clinical diagnosis, important education and outreach, surveillance, and the required training of future scientists, physicians and other health related work force members, ” stated Dr. G. E. Ghali, Chancellor of LSU Health Shreveport.
OUR MISSION is to serve the citizens of the state and diagnose the presence of SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19 and then to become the region’s top surveillance lab for the detection of new viruses and other pathogens that could affect the health of citizens of the region and state.
New: Phylodynamic analysis of Louisiana SARS-CoV-2 outbreak
Phylogenetic analyses are used to place SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus genomes on a “family tree,” and are generated using powerful software designed by genetic epidemiologists. The resulting trees enable scientists and curious members of the public to interact with viral genetic sequence information to infer possible transmission chains and to visualize the relatedness of various SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus genomes from around the state. The raw data were generated by determining the sequence of viral RNA genomes recovered from patient samples. The organizations that contributed viral sequence data from Louisiana were LSUHS EVT laboratory, MiGS Center, Garry Lab (Tulane), the Andersen Lab (Scripps Research), BioInfo Experts, LSU Baton Rouge, Gingko Bioworks, the Louisiana Department of Public Health and the CDC. Once sequence data is generated, it is uploaded to GISAID, a science initiative for epidemics/pandemics that has become a key resource for international collaboration efforts to combat COVID-19 and influenza.
The CEVT is working to obtain complete genome sequences of the viruses from samples in cooperation with nationwide and international efforts to better understand the virus, enable molecular epidemiology work, such as contact tracing, and to inform future vaccine efforts. LSU Health Shreveport is also the only academic center in Louisiana with this capability. The lab provides the same offerings as CDC testing locations and is working collaboratively with the World Health Organization and CDC-sanctioned testing labs, following the same testing criteria.
"The faculty and staff of the Center of Emerging Viral Threats are fully committed to deliver the testing, clinical/vaccine trials and research required to move our community beyond this pandemic as quickly as possible. Receiving designation as a Center of Excellence will strengthen our position to compete for grant funding and in preparing for the pandemics of the future.”
Chris Kevil, PhD, Vice Chancellor for Research
- Is the CEVT Lab accredited?
- Do EVT Lab staff members have to follow personal protective equipment (PPE) guidelines?
- What tests are the EVT Lab running?
- Who runs and works in the EVT Lab?
- What will the EVT Lab do after the COVID-19 pandemic?
- Does the EVT Lab test for anything besides COVID-19?
- I'm interested in obtaining data from the EVT Lab. Who should I contact?
- What are the dates for mobile COVID-19 test sites?
- How will I receive my test results?
- Who do I contact if I have a question about SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19?
- How do I get a test?
- Are tests available to the general public?
- How do I get my results?
- How quickly are test results received?
- Can the EVT Lab come to my business and do testing?
- I think I had COVID-19 previously but was not tested. How can I be tested for antibodies?
Fortune.com - Even the type of sequencing done in the U.S. has been lacking, some experts say, with much of the effort focused on finding cases of the U.K. variant, rather than casting a wider net for any variant, including ones not previously identified, said Jeremy Kamil, a virologist at Louisiana State University Health Shreveport.
Bloomberg.com - Even the type of sequencing done in the U.S. has been lacking, some experts say, with much of the effort focused on finding cases of the U.K. variant, rather than casting a wider net for any variant, including ones not previously identified, said Jeremy Kamil, a virologist at LSU Health Shreveport. “It’s the Wild West,” he said. “Every state, city, county is doing its own thing. It’s a bunch of random cats and no one is trying to herd them.”
Shreveport Times - LSU Health Shreveport's Dr. Jeremy Kamil talks about the importance of genome sequencing during COVID-19.
KSLA 12- “If the EVT Lab had not existed, quite frankly, I think we’d be in a much darker place here in the northern part of the state,” said Dr. Chris Kevil, vice chancellor of research and one of the leading minds behind creation of the lab. “The EVT Lab has been fundamental in our ability to monitor COVID infections in patients out in this community."
MSN.com - The Emerging Viral Threat (EVT) Lab at LSU Health Shreveport has now sequenced a total 651 Louisiana SARS-CoV-2 virus genomes making it the largest contributor to date of genetic data on SARS-CoV-2 in the state.
The Emerging Viral Threat (EVT) Lab at LSU Health Shreveport has now sequenced a total 651 Louisiana SARS-CoV-2 virus genomes making them the largest contributor to date of genetic data on SARS-CoV-2 in the state. SARS-CoV-2, which is short for ‘Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2,’ is the virus that causes COVID-19, and viral genome sequencing is contributing to a worldwide effort to fight the ongoing pandemic.
KTBS 3 - Andrew Yurochko, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at LSUHS, shares, “When you think about total tests, 0.1% of the total tests of the entire country are done right here in Northwest Louisiana, where we’ve focused on our own citizens, not just in Shreveport or Caddo Parish, but in all of Region 7 which is Northwest Louisiana.”
The Bossier Chamber of Commerce honored “Patriots of the Pandemic” to recognize those in the community who played key roles in fighting back the pandemic. LSU Health Shreveport’s COVID Surveillance Strike Team received a special Eagle Award for testing coordination inside nursing homes.
The Emerging Viral Threat Lab at LSU Health Shreveport has processed over 110,000 COVID-19 test samples from multiple public health regions of the state and created over 170,000 test kits which were distributed throughout the state during its first six months of operation.