Genomic Analysis of SARS-COV-2: New Variants and the Vaccine Rollout
This webinar will introduce the upcoming graduate Bioinformatics for Infectious Diseases Course at LSU that covers topics, tools and resources developed for infectious disease research.
As the vaccine rollout starts around the world, new variants in the spike protein of SARS-COV-2 as well as rapid evolution of this RNA virus are raising concerns about the long-term efficacy of the vaccine. In this webinar, we will discuss the ways significant mutations in viral genomes can be identified and studied in the context of evolution, protein structural changes and how to evaluate the significance of such variants for intervention measures.
Background: A SARS-CoV-2 variant, referred to as SARS-CoV-2 VUI 202012/01 (Variant Under Investigation, year 2020, month 12, variant 01), has been identified through viral genomic sequencing in the United Kingdom (UK). It is defined by multiple spike protein mutations (deletion 69-70, deletion 144, N501Y, A570D, D614G, P681H, T716I, S982A, D1118H) present. Since then, similar mutations have been confirmed in the US and other parts of the world. The emergence of such mutations indicates greater transmissibility and might have other potential impacts, including:
- Ability to spread more quickly in humans. There is already evidence that one mutation, D614G, has this property to spread more quickly. In the lab, G614 variants propagate more quickly in human respiratory epithelial cells, out-competing D614 viruses. There also is evidence that the G614 variant spreads more quickly than viruses without the mutation.
- Ability to cause either milder or more severe disease in humans. There is no evidence that VOC 202012/01 produces more severe illness than other SARS-CoV-2 variants.
- Ability to evade detection by specific diagnostic tests. Most commercial polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests have multiple targets to detect the virus, such that even if a mutation impacts one of the targets, the other PCR targets will still work.
- Decreased susceptibility to therapeutic agents such as monoclonal antibodies.
- Ability to evade vaccine-induced immunity. FDA-authorized vaccines are “polyclonal,” producing antibodies that target several parts of the spike protein. The virus would likely need to accumulate multiple mutations in the spike protein to evade immunity induced by vaccines or by natural infection.
Webinar Registration: https://edu.tbioinfo.com/genomic-analysis-of-sars-cov-2-webinar
Webinar Video: https://youtu.be/8NsUTVA1ppk
Flier for all the details. LBRN Webinar - New Spike Mutations.pdf