It’s already happened: Several SARS-CoV-2 variants are upon us, lurking in various populations, bringing more uncertainty about how this pandemic will ever get under control.
SARS-CoV-2 is mutating and, in the process, potentially getting more infectious and dangerous, increasing the potential for immune escape and possibly jeopardizing vaccine efficacy. Several geographic variants have recently been discovered. Some have increased transmissibility. Yet for others, it’s too early to tell if they are more transmissible, more deadly, will impact vaccine efficacy or escape an already established immunity. Nevertheless, the possibility is there, with every new, significant variant that we discover.
By now, the whole world has learned what ‘PCR’ means, which merely a year ago few people would have had a clue about. Nevertheless, the virus is getting smarter and there is a growing conviction that relying solely on PCR tests won’t cut it any longer. Not now, and certainly not in the future.
Soon, the whole world might know the term ‘next-generation sequencing’. With more and more variants emerging and spreading, it is imperative to ramp up genomic surveillance of different variants using whole-genome next-generation sequencing of positive COVID-19 samples – to help avoid further spread locally, nationally and globally. Public health laboratories, hospitals, sequencing centers and governing authorities/organizations must come together to tackle the challenge of genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2.
Along with increased sequencing of positive COVID-19 samples comes the need to scale up operations by laboratories. Every aspect must be scaled, from sample management, sequencing, data analysis, IT infrastructure and results reporting. If you’re working in this field and are not already scaling operations, you need to be prepared to do so soon. This could require hiring new people, spending resources on optimizing workflows and time acquiring the bioinformatics and IT expertise necessary to perform data analysis and reporting.
The last, critical part of scaling up your operations is to embrace what’s already here and to be ready for what’s coming. Labs cannot afford not to be ready. The world cannot afford not to be ready.
The good news is, there is a smarter, more efficient way. We’ve got a solution that will help.
At QIAGEN Digital Insights, we specialize in bioinformatics software, data analysis, IT infrastructure and interpretation and reporting of results. We have risen to the challenge by developing a fully-automated, constantly-updated, scalable service solution for SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance data analysis and reporting of major existing and new variants, with automated quality control and clear visualizations.
With our QIAGEN CoV-2 Insights Service solution, there’s no need for extensive IT infrastructure or additional expert bioinformatics personnel. This service automatically processes samples, and within minutes, delivers concise results ready to share with public health partners. It produces a report identifying the lineage of each sample and provides a list of important mutations. Results can also be visualized in QIAGEN CLC Genomics Workbench at no extra cost. We use a global cloud infrastructure that scales and adapts on-demand, providing the fastest and most secure data processing available.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned so far, it is that SARS-CoV-2 is unpredictable. We must be ready to adapt, work quickly and innovate. To work together and play according to our strengths as individuals, institutions and companies.
Get ahead of the curve! Learn about our QIAGEN Digital Insights SARS-CoV-2 resources and request a consultation about our QIAGEN CoV-2 Insights Service. Browse our QIAGEN CoV-2 Insights Service resource library, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local QIAGEN Digital Insights representative at firstname.lastname@example.org.