COVID-19


Playing Catch Up--Viral Surveillance in the U.S. with Will Lee of Helix

How fast is the coronavirus mutating? Why is the U.K. variant, or B.1.1.7, more transmissible than original strains of the virus? Is viral surveillance the weak spot in the U.S.'s fight against the pandemic?

Will Lee is the VP of Science for Helix, a population genetics company that has had a unique national footprint and ability to retool into a large scale COVID testing lab. Last month the company announced a collaboration with the sequencing and diagnostics company, Illumina, as well as with the CDC to track the so-called U.K. variant of the coronavirus. Their data is being used by the CDC and others to track how far this variant has penetrated the U.S.

Will informs us today about the collaboration and efforts going forward at Helix to track the South African strain, other variants and the importance of surveillance strategies in the larger U.S. efforts to beat the pandemic.

Keith Robison on the State of Sequencing: 2020 Edition

We speak directly with the Oracle today. It's Keith Robison, blogger at Omics Omics. Your All Knowingness, we ask, what has happened in the world of sequencing technology this year?

“The companies may need a mulligan,” he quips and laughs.

But then, maybe, not. It turns out the great Pandemic has driven sequencing technology in its own way. There’s been an explosion of sequencing based diagnostics. That trend was already happening, but the pace was mightily booted along. And all of the technologies have been involved—some new entrants as well--used for their own strengths, to track the powerful virus and all its speeding variations.

We take the flagships one by one, from 10X to the small Genapsys, asking the Oracle in the end whether there is any more room for a shakeup in this mature space. We finish with an impressive story of clinical sequencing for rare disease diagnosis at a world record speed. Oh, Oracle, tell us the future.



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