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SARS-CoV-2 Trends: Recent Variants, What’s to Come, and What’s Still Needed

Almost a year after the initial onset of COVID-19, new variants of SARS-CoV-2 emerged, spreading quickly and straining health systems globally. What can we learn from those variants and how can health system leaders gain insights into what’s to come in order to prepare their communities? Active viral surveillance is a critical part of the  … Read more


One of the largest gene-based collapsing analyses reveals potential candidate genes for population screening

A recent paper from the Helix research team presents evidence that four additional gene-disease associations warrant consideration: GCK with diabetes mellitus, HBB with hemoglobinopathies, PKD1 with cystic kidney disease, and MIP with cataracts.


The Helix community and the fight against COVID-19

Over the past year, Helix researchers and the Helix community have helped advance our understanding of COVID-19 in a number of ways. Here, we describe some of the findings our community has contributed to. A year ago today, the world was in a much different place. For many, the prospect of a vaccine loomed in  … Read more


Evidence of “double mutant” substitutions E484Q and L452R in the B.1.429 lineage suggest convergent evolution of immune escape mutations

Two variants have been shown to help the SARS-CoV-2 virus avoid the immune system’s antibody response; their emergence in separate viral lineages suggests convergent evolution in response to selective pressure.


Update on the Helix, Illumina surveillance program: B.1.1.7 variant of SARS-CoV-2, first identified in the UK, spreads further into the US

Most recent update: January 11th, 2021 What’s new? Helix has identified 74 cases of B.1.1.7 (up from the 51 reported in our January 6 update). B.1.1.7 appears to currently represent 0.27% of all positive tests and 43% of SGTF samples, up from 0.17% and 34% last week, respectively. B.1.1.7 has been found in 3 additional  … Read more


SARS-CoV-2 UK variant (B.1.1.7) in the US: Four cases identified in Florida and California

The SARS-CoV-2 UK variant (B.1.1.7) strain has recently emerged as the dominant strain in the UK and has been found to be more infectious. Studies from France and the UK have shown that S gene dropout predicts the B.1.1.7 strain with near-perfect accuracy. Last week, we reported observing ~0.5% of recent positive HelixⓇ COVID-19 Tests  … Read more


Is the new SARS-CoV-2 UK variant (B.1.1.7) already in the US? Maybe.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been concern about novel SARS-CoV-2 mutations emerging that are more transmissible. Recently, multiple novel strains of SARS-CoV-2 have been found to share the same deletion of amino acids H69 and V70.  At least some of these strains are hypothesized to have increased transmissibility, and some have  … Read more


5 ways Helix’s research community has advanced science in 2020

As we wrap up 2020 and look back at the year we’ve all endured, it’s important to highlight the places where humanity shone through the darkness. One such place is in our research community.  While the people around the nation were forced into isolation by stay at home orders or self-imposed quarantine, our research community  … Read more


Helix Delivers One Millionth COVID-19 Test

Today, we’re excited to announce a major milestone – we’ve delivered 1,000,000 COVID-19 tests since we first launched our testing in late June. While we’ve been scaling rapidly since then, we’ve recently accelerated tremendously, with over half of these tests being delivered in just the past four weeks.


COVID-19 severity and the Neanderthal heirloom

Neanderthal DNA may influence how severe a person’s symptoms to COVID-19 are.