October 18, 2021 Intelligence: Late-Breaking Lab News

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One interesting development from the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak is a new ability to collect genetic data on the virus and its variants from a growing number of countries across the globe. The World reported that “In March, the one millionth genomic sequence for the new coronavirus came from Chile; in late May, the two millionth from Mexico; in August, the three millionth from Singapore; and in September, the four millionth from Republic of Congo.” This is a result of the ongoing improvements in genome sequencing instruments that make sequencing faster, cheaper, and more accurate. More nations are acquiring gene sequencing systems and training the scientists needed to do the sequencing and interpret the results. 

MORE ON: Global Gene Sequencing

In the same story, The World interviewed Christian Happi, a virologist who works at Redeemer’s University in Nigeria, and wrote that “Happi estimates that now, at least half of the countries in Africa are able to do some level of local genomic sequencing. It’s a stark contrast to just a few years earlier during the West African Ebola outbreak when only his lab was able to do this. Scientists instead had to send their samples elsewhere, which can create critical delays in information.” 

NORDSTROM TO SELL MICROBIOMETEST

Consumers seem to be fascinated with microbiome testing. Nordstrom, the national department store chain, announced that it will sell a microbiome test from Viome Life Sciences, a company based in Seattle.

TRANSITIONS

Jeff Schmalz is the new Chief Commercial Officer at Premier Medical Laboratory Services of Greenville, S.C. He previously held positions at Labcorp and Abbott Diagnostics. 

Karen McFadden, Labcorp’s long-serving Senior Vice President of Managed Care, retired earlier this year. Notably, she served 47 years at Labcorp, starting in 1974 as a medical technologist in hematology for Roche Clinical Laboratory (later merged into Labcorp). 

• Health Network Laboratories of Allentown, Penn., announced the appointment of Warren Erdmann as Chief Clinical Officer. His prior positions were with Genesis Healthcare, BioReference Laboratories, Inc., and MediLabs.

• Foundation Medicine of Cambridge, Mass., appointed Dymeka Harrison as Chief Commercial Officer. She previously held executive positions with Abbott Laboratories, Qiagen, and bioMérieux.

That’s all the insider intelligence for this report. Look for the next briefing on Monday, November 8, 2021.

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