eClinical Technology and Industy News

Thermo Fisher Scientific to Support National Program to Accelerate SARS-CoV-2 Variant Identification

Excerpt from the Press Release:

CARLSBAD, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., the world leader in serving science, today announced its collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) Initiative, Helix, and Rosalind aimed at developing a new genotyping method for SARS-CoV-2 that could speed up the identification of variants as they emerge.

Utilizing a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)-based genotyping approach that can be implemented in any testing lab performing real-time PCR, this program allows for a significant scale up of SARS-CoV-2 surveillance efforts in the United States. Data generated from this program will be available to the public through the Rosalind Tracker website. This effort was funded by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) as part of the NIH RADx Initiative to increase testing capacity and accessibility for the virus that causes COVID-19.

The rapid emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants raises several important public health questions, such as their ability to cause disease and their impact on vaccine efficacy. This makes it critical to track variants to better understand transmission patterns and possible consequences on health care resources. Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) is the conventional method for detecting and tracing new variants, with about 5 percent of randomly selected SARS-CoV-2 positive samples in the United States being sent for variant identification. NGS, however, can possibly take up to 21 days from a positive result before variant data is available in public repositories.

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