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SUNY Oswego researchers studying COVID-19 variants

SUNY Oswego

With the circulation of COVID-19 variants such as the UK and South African strains, questions have been raised about the efficacy of testing and immunization against those mutations of the virus.

At SUNY Oswego, researchers are figuring out just how mutated the virus can get before we have to adjust our resources.

“How many variations are there before things that we're developing for treatment or the vaccines or even for testing, which is what we're looking at, don't work the way we intended,” said Julia Koeppe, an assistant chemistry professor at SUNY Oswego.

Koeppe is spearheading this research with her fellow chemistry colleague, Kestas Bendinskas. They are trying to mutate the virus enough to determine the threshold for tests to detect it as COVID-19. Bendinskas said he hopes their research can identify that point before the virus reaches it. 

“We’re looking ahead at possible pitfalls that are arising from mutations or viruses and trying to work ahead of it so that it doesn't escape our detection,” said Bendinskas.

With the help of a SUNY grant, they were able to bring in two undergraduate students, and hope to pass their knowledge on to other students in the SUNY system.

Madison Ruffo received a Master’s Degree from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, where she specialized in audio and health/science reporting. Madison has extensively covered the environment, local politics, public health, and business. When she’s not reporting, you can find Madison reading, hiking, and spending time with her family and friends.