US National Institutes of Health Prioritization of SARS-CoV-2 Variants
Turner S, Alisoltani A, Bratt D, Cohen-Lavi L, Dearlove BL, Drosten C, Fischer WM, Fouchier RAM, Gonzalez-Reiche AS, Jaroszewski L, Khalil Z, LeGresley E, Johnson M, Jones TC, Mühlemann B, O'Connor D, Sedova M, Shukla M, Theiler J, Wallace ZS, Yoon H, Zhang Y, van Bakel H, DeGrace MM, Ghedin E, Godzik A, Hertz T, Korber B, Lemieux J, Niewiadomska AM, Post DJ, Rolland M, Scheuermann R, Smith DJ
Since late 2020, SARS-CoV-2 variants have regularly emerged with competitive and phenotypic differences from previously circulating strains, sometimes with the potential to escape from immunity produced by prior exposure and infection. The Early Detection group is one of the constituent groups of the US National Institutes of Health National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases SARS-CoV-2 Assessment of Viral Evolution program. The group uses bioinformatic methods to monitor the emergence, spread, and potential phenotypic properties of emerging and circulating strains to identify the most relevant variants for experimental groups within the program to phenotypically characterize. Since April 2021, the group has prioritized variants monthly. Prioritization successes include rapidly identifying most major variants of SARS-CoV-2 and providing experimental groups within the National Institutes of Health program easy access to regularly updated information on the recent evolution and epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 that can be used to guide phenotypic investigations.