The Science of Pandemic Technology
Co-Hosted with The Big Data Institute at The University of Oxford
The emergence of new mutations in SARS-CoV-2 and their implications
The emergence of novel variants has been a defining feature of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic over recent months. Each report of a novel variant kicks off a flurry of experimental studies that aim to characterize the phenotypic impacts of the newly observed mutations.
Tyler Star will discuss their high-throughput experimental platform to prospectively map the impacts of all possible mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 RBD on key biochemical phenotypes such as receptor binding or antibody escape. For example, the map that they published last summer already indicated that the N501Y mutation enhanced receptor-binding affinity and receptor-mediated cellular entry, preceding the repeated observation of this mutant in variants of concern with increased transmissibility that emerged in the fall and winter. Their maps also enable the tailoring and design of antibody therapeutics in light of local surveillance of viral variation. Learn about how their maps, together with other studies in viral evolution, reveal about the potential future evolution of this virus.
Katrina Lythgoe will discuss the emergence and spread of a growing number of variants of concern. Fundamentally, any new mutation, or combination of mutations, arises during an infection. She will describe their work on the within-host diversity and transmission of SARS-CoV-2, and discuss the implications for their understanding of how new variants of concern arise and spread.
Meet The Speakers
Tyler is a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Jesse Bloom at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington. Tyler studies the molecular evolution of proteins in viruses and immunity. Over the last year, he developed an experimental “deep mutational scanning” platform to comprehensively map the biochemical impacts of mutations in a key domain of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. These maps enable rapid evaluation of the potential phenotypic consequences for newly observed SARS-CoV-2 variants, and are being used to evaluate and design antibody and vaccine therapeutics.
Katrina is a Group Leader and Sir Henry Dale Fellow at the University of Oxford. She studies the evolution and epidemiology of viruses, and up until a year ago she mainly focussed on viruses causing long-term infections, like HIV, hepatitis C virus, and hepatitis B virus. Over the last year, she has also been working on SARS-CoV-2, including developing epidemiological models forecasting its spread, and looking at the genetic diversity of the virus within individuals, and how much of this diversity is transmitted between individuals.
Coordinating Committee Co-Chairs
Joanna Masel, PhD
Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at The University of Arizona
Luca Ferretti, PhD
Senior Researcher in Statistical Genetics and Pathogen DynamicsBig Data Institute, The University of Oxford
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Topics for future presentations and panel discussions
Contributors to this series include some of the leading experts in exposure science, epidemiology, virology, public health, infectious disease, Bluetooth technology, pathogen dynamics, health communications, behavioral economics, privacy, cybersecurity and digital health innovation.
Evaluating the efficacy of digital proximity tracing and exposure notification apps
Risk Scoring Models
Protocols for establishing risk thresholds for exposure notifications
Effective communications strategies to drive app adoption, foster public trust, and promote behavior change
When to Quarantine
Cost-benefit analysis of quarantine guidelines
Ethics & Health Equity
Ethical frameworks and health equity considerations for pandemic technology innovation
Microbial exposure science of modes of transmission of SARS-CoV-2: Implications for risk assessment and prevention
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