How to Track Pandemic Variants Faster

How to Track Pandemic Variants Faster

IMAGE: Specialists in viral and genetic analysis, led by Swiss scientists Dr. Emma Hodcroft at the University of Bern and Prof. Christophe Dessimoz at the University of Lausanne, alongside Dr. Nick Goldman… see more

Credit: © Oliver Hochstrasser

“What scientists have accomplished in a year since the discovery of a brand new virus is truly remarkable,” says Emma Hodcroft of the Institute for Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM) at the University of Bern, first author of the ‘article,’ but the tools that scientists use to study how SARS-CoV-2 transmits and evolves were never designed for the unique pressures – or the volumes of data – of this pandemic.

SARS-CoV-2 is now one of the most sequenced pathogens of all time, with over 600,000 complete genomic sequences generated since the start of the pandemic and over 5,000 new sequences from around the world every day . However, the analysis and visualization tools used today (including Nextstrain, co-developed by Prof. Richard Neher’s group at SIB and the University of Basel) were never designed to manage volume and speed of the sequences generated today, nor the scale …

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