Gundersen Health System begins genome sequencing to better understand COVID-19

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Gundersen Health System is taking its COVID-19 research a step further.

On Sunday it announced that it’s doing viral genome sequencing to help understand how the virus works.

Specifically in the La Crosse region and how these cases relate to cases globally.

Genome sequencing shows DNA’s genetic information.

This information will help them track how the virus has traveled and where it originated.

One researcher says knowing who is positive is only the first step in flattening the curve.

“Knowing where the virus is coming from and potentially understanding patterns of spread that you might not necessarily gain just by looking at positives and negatives could help public health departments understand how the virus is spreading in the community,” said Paraoc Kenny, Ph.D.

Kenny is the Director of the Kabara Cancer Research Institute, Gundersen Health System.

Cancer research equipment is being re-tasked for these efforts.

So far the research team has sequenced ten local cases but plans to ramp that up to 64 per week.