With the recent emergence of the Omicron variant over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, scientists are under tremendous pressure to understand a number of questions. Some key ones include:
1. Do current vaccines & boosters need to be tweaked?
By analyzing the genomic sequences of Omicron, alongside taking antibodies from a vaccinated person or animal, scientists are racing to find out if the current vaccines and boosters can neutralize the Omicron variant. If the variant is resistant or if it requires a higher titer of antibodies to neutralize the virus, then the vaccines or boosters may need to be tweaked.
2. What is the transmissibility of the Omicron variant, and how does it compare to the Delta variant?
If Omicron is partially resistant to current vaccines & boosters and if the variants transmission rate is low, it may not be as problematic and only stays in certain regions, therefore avoiding becoming drivers of new waves like Delta.
In our webinar1 last year, Emerging Trends and Data about SARS-CoV-2 Epidemiology and Genetics from a Data Analytics Perspective, at around 12:01, PerkinElmer Informatics’ Dan Weaver PhD, Director Product Portfolio, acknowledged the efforts of the international community to gather together genomic sequencing data from all of the relevant sources and begin annotating them. Months following this webinar, we now see again, how critically important it is to have international scientific collaboration + robust genomic and data analytics tools like Signals Inventa2 + a commitment to the global scientific and data analytics communities sharing data insights, so public health officials can continue to guide the public and save lives.
We need these informatics tools more than ever to enable scientists to gather and analyze available data, to provide important insights to the international scientific community. Let’s keep up our scientific community’s commitment to global scientific collaboration, in terms of sharing genetic surveillance and scientific and data analytics insights about these variants. We are thrilled that our scientific software has the power to help this effort at this critical time in the pandemic, to help the international science community continue to create vaccines and anti-viral treatments to save lives.
To learn more about Signals Inventa2 and how we support a range of small molecule R&D and biologic R&D customers in drug discovery and materials science, read more here. To learn more about how PerkinElmer Informatics is the exclusive provider of Spotfire™ for scientific and clinical R&D applications, read here. The webinar referenced above is part of PerkinElmer Informatics’ COVID-19 Analytics Resource Center.
1 This webinar is available in the COVID-19 Analytics Resource Center, https://info.perkinelmer.com/covid19-analytics
2 Formerly known as Signals Lead Discovery