Initial Helix-CDC Collaboration Led to Company’s Leadership in Identifying & Predicting the Timing of Dominant COVID Strains, Saving Countless Lives
SAN MATEO, Calif., September 20, 2022 -- Helix, the leading population genomics and viral surveillance company in the nation, today announced an extended agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequencing for viral monitoring and surveillance – a recognition of the Company’s continued commitment to highly accurate and scalable viral sequencing efforts to prepare us for new variants and novel pathogens, particularly as other private labs have begun reducing their investments in this area.
Helix, with resources from the Broad Institute and the University of Washington School of Medicine, will provide genomic sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 – which will serve as baseline information for the CDC’s national and state-level viral monitoring efforts. This data will help define important changes in transmission, identify unusual or novel variants, and ultimately improve public health responses and decision-making with better laboratory data.
Today’s announcement builds upon the Company’s successful public-private partnership with the CDC that began in January 2021, when Helix and Illumina established the first public-private partnership with the CDC to launch SARS-CoV-2 variant sequencing as part of national surveillance efforts. This led to Helix being one of the first companies to accurately identify Alpha-variant cases nationally and predict the timing of the Delta variant’s dominance in the summer of 2021 and more recently, track Omicron closely this year – efforts that have saved countless lives by helping our nation’s health systems and first responders prepare for and respond more effectively to new COVID variants.
Helix CEO and co-founder James Lu, MD, PhD stated: “Whether through vaccine developments, testing, or variant sequencing, we have seen time-and-time again the critical role that public-private partnerships have played in mobilizing effective responses to new variant surges during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While national attention may have shifted away from the pandemic, our actions today will decide how prepared we are for the next pandemic.
“That’s why Helix is proud to continue our work with the CDC by extending our scientific expertise and next-generation sequencing technologies for the Center’s viral surveillance efforts so that we can most effectively improve national pandemic readiness and public health outcomes to future COVID variants or ‘Disease X.’”
Under the terms of this partnership with the CDC, Helix, together with its partners, will sequence over 3,000 SARS-CoV-2 samples per week for the next year – with the option to double the number of samples during “surge” moments – to expand the CDC’s overall capacity for the timely monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 variants and mutations for vaccine escape, transmission changes, and outbreaks.
Helix regularly provides insights to state public health, health systems and other health care institutions, and has published over a dozen pre-print and peer-reviewed publications on viral sequences.
Helix is the leading population genomics and viral surveillance company operating at the intersection of clinical care, research, and data analytics. Helix enables health systems, life sciences companies, payers, and government partners to accelerate the integration of genomic data into patient care and public health decision making. Learn more at www.helix.com.