News from the Center for Emerging Viral Threats

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One year Anniversary - March 25, 2021

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Announcement Press Conference - March 25, 2020

KTBS3 - The LSUHS COVID-19 Strike team and Emerging Viral Threats lab hit a record high with over 14,000 COVID-19 tests conducted last week. This is quite a feat, considering many areas across the country have had to scale back testing to symptomatic people only because staff members and labs were overrun.

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KSLA12 - Sequencing is a multi-step process that includes using robotic technology to help make the process faster, more efficient and to reduce human error. "While this new variant has more mutations than others, her team is much more equipped this time around," says Dr. Krista Queen, Director of Viral Genomics and Surveillance for LSUHS.

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Shreveport Times - Research Notebook: Since the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic scientists around the world have been working together on critical genomic sequencing efforts to better understand how the SARS-CoV-2 virus spreads and evolves and help guide and evaluate public health response. 

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Roy O. Martin III and Kathy Martin have donated $500,000 to the Center for Medical Education as part of a larger LSU system-wide gift supporting top capital priorities for the Fierce for the Future Campaign. The Martin’s gift will be directed to the Center of Excellence for Emerging Viral Threats (CEVT) to be housed on the top floor of the Center for Medical Education.

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Financial Times - Labs are scrambling to answer 3 fundamental questions: is it more transmissible, can it evade the vaccination, and does it cause more severe disease? Jeremy Kamil, a virologist studying Sars-Cov-2 evolution at LSUHS, describes his shock when this genome was released. “It was like coming home from vacation and seeing that someone hasn’t just planted a few flowers in your garden. They’ve remodeled the whole landscape.”

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Bloomberg - While the U.S. is sequencing a much higher percentage of Covid samples than earlier, the bigger issue may be that not enough virus testing is done in the first place, said Jeremy Kamil, a virologist at Louisiana State University Health Shreveport.

Read the Full Article in PDF

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News Star - Louisiana Tech University, Grambling State University, LSU Health Shreveport and several health clinics across the region are working together to sequence the COVID-19 virus to learn how it's spreading and if any new variants arise. Research from the three universities is made available for the public online at

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The LSU Health Shreveport COVID-19 Strike Teams reached a major milestone today having administered just over 100,000 VACCINATIONS. Over 175 individuals have been a part of the LSUHS vaccine teams comprised of physicians, nurses, nursing, medical and allied health students, and the Louisiana National Guard.

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A new variant of COVID-19 has been identified in Louisiana by scientists at the LSU Health Shreveport Emerging Viral Threats Center. LSUHS announced this month that the B.1.630 variant had been sequenced and reported by the center, though health officials believe this variant's predominance is very low and much less transmissable than the deadly delta variant.

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The EVT Viral Genomics and Sequencing Lab at LSU Health Shreveport is first in the state to sequence and report that a new variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has been detected in Louisiana. The new variant, B.1.630, was sequenced last week from two samples collected in Baton Rouge.

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Wall Street Journal - Some virologists believe the Delta variant evolved to maximize transmissibility and that its ability to spread rapidly will eventually reach a ceiling as more of the global population gets vaccinated. “It looks like this virus is already driving a Lamborghini right now in terms of transmissibility, so I’m not sure it can get much faster,” said Jeremy Kamil, a virologist at LSU Health Shreveport who is studying coronavirus genetics. Read the full article.

Read More about Delta’s highly infectious nature positions it to outcompete new variants, scientists say (opens in new window/tab) -  Dr. Jeremy Kamil, Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at LSUHS leads COVID-19 sequencing at the institution shared that he believes a doomsday variant is extremely unlikely and that people should be talking instead about the importance of getting vaccinated because variants can develop when large numbers of people do not.

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Boston Globe - Dr. Jeremy Kamil, an associate professor of microbiology and immunology at LSUHS, oversees a team of scientists reading the genomes of positive virus samples each week. A run of samples this week found the number of cases involving the delta variant had exploded. Dr. John Vanchiere, a professor of infectious disease at LSUHS said a growing public awareness of local delta cases was one reason his team was now vaccinating twice as many people as a month ago — as many as 100 a day.

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