MAKO Medical Laboratories, Co-Founded by Chad Price, Detects First U.K. COVID-19 Variant in South Carolina

By Staff Reporter - 24 Feb '21 23:00PM
  • MAKO Medical Laboratories, Co-Founded by Chad Price, Detects First U.K. COVID-19 Variant in South Carolina
  • (Photo : MAKO Medical Laboratories, Co-Founded by Chad Price, Detects First U.K. COVID-19 Variant in South Carolina)

MAKO Medical Laboratories, in conjunction with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) has identified the first instance of the new variant of the novel coronavirus in the state. The partnership has found an occurrence of the B1.1.7 variant of COVID-19 in South Carolina. There have now been more than 300 cases of this particular variant found in 28 states across the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Toward the start of the pandemic last year, the team at MAKO Medical Laboratories switched its focus from general medical testing to testing for the COVID-19 virus. Under the guidance of CEO Chad Price, the innovative healthcare company began offering both testing and researching services to the wider community. Since the business was founded with the core value of serving the community, the team of experts was well-positioned to adapt to this change. The latest discovery may help curb the variant in the state. 

"MAKO is proud to partner with state and local health departments across the country, including SCDHEC, to provide rapid, reliable, and actionable results," says Steve Hoover, vice president of laboratory operations at MAKO Medical. "Using next-generation sequencing technology, we can analyze these samples to understand the presence of variants better and provide accurate information to health officials. We continue to provide a one-stop solution to providers for laboratory services in response to COVID-19."

The new variant of COVID-19 was first detected overseas in the United Kingdom in September of last year. The B.1.1.7 variant has since been detected in several countries around the world. This particular mutation of the novel coronavirus is causing much concern among experts around the world. The variant, along with other new strains, is highly contagious and may trigger inaccurate antigen and PCR results should a laboratory fail to test for multiple viral genes, according to the CDC. Put simply, that means that researchers and others in the medical field must be vigilant when testing for new variants of the virus.

"Our findings show that the mutation has begun to work its way throughout the United States. We are in constant communication with public health leaders to keep them informed and updated," says Hoover.

To identify new variants, the team at MAKO Medical Laboratories uses a new next-generation sequencing (NGS) research panel in its testing. This cutting-edge system means that the experts can quickly test for mutations and new strains of the virus. The research-based platform allows the mapping of more than nine percent of the SARS-Cov-2 genome. Using this method of testing, the team of medical experts identified the new B.1.1.7 variant of the virus early in their research and was able to report its findings.

MAKO Medical Laboratories is accredited by the College of American Pathologists and has performed more than five million COVID-19 tests since April 2020. By utilizing industry-leading testing assays, such as the Applied Biosystems TaqPath Sequencing research panel, the team can identify new variants of the ever-mutating novel coronavirus. That, combined with the next-generation sequencing research panel means that Chad Price's MAKO Medical is a formidable force.

The two MAKO Medical Laboratories take up more than 70,000 square feet of space. The company owns two leading facilities in the North Carolina region, one in Raleigh and one in Henderson. As a direct response to the COVID-19 outbreak last year, Chad Price made the game-changing decision to expand the Henderson facility. 

The move expanded the laboratory's testing capacity from 50,000 tests each day to 100,000 tests each day. Doubling the experts' scope for testing has led to faster results for the residents of the South Carolina area. Moreover, the MAKO Medical team has also expanded over the last year, growing from 350 employees to more than 1,000. 

Thanks to the healthcare company's leading practices, it has become well known for its contributions to the sector. For example, in March 2020, the company was listed as one of Forbes Magazine's Best Startup Employers of the Year. In August, the company scored 100 percent on CAP COVID Proficiency Testing, showcasing its ongoing commitment to quality lab results. As the pandemic continues in the coming months, MAKO Medical will continue with its COVID testing and research efforts.

About MAKO Medical 

With an expert team of nationally recognized doctors and doctorate holders who specialize in methodology development and pathological services, MAKO Medical Laboratories is a leading healthcare company. The innovative company prioritizes patients, offers complete transparency, and gives back to the wider community. With more than 70,000 square feet of laboratory space, the company is well-positioned to offer leading testing services. 

The company was founded back in 2014 by Chad Price, Adam Price, and Josh Arant. Combining a wealth of new technology, including robotics, app platforms, and cloud-based technology, MAKO Medical offers cutting-edge testing services to patients around the country. The business also employs a selection of veterans and seeks to support them after their service has ended. In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the laboratories have changed their focus to work on virus testing and remarkable research in the area.

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