The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants with the potential to transmit more readily and/or circumvent immunity represents a substantial challenge to on-going pandemic control efforts. Six complementary projects focus on this area.
- The MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research aims to conduct an observational study to monitor vaccine response in the Scottish population following exposure to SARS-CoV-2 variants
- Northumbria University will develop new computational methods for Variant of Concern detection and Variant of Interest classification
- Queen’s University Belfast will focus on SARS-CoV-2 genomic variation within individuals, whether owing to mutations within a single infecting viral lineage or co-infection with multiple lineages. The potential implications of variants for vaccine evasion and any evidence of intra-host evolution will be examined.
- The University of Sheffield will examine the impact of SARS-CoV-2 mutations on recognition by a specific type of immune cell (T-cells)
- University College London will use a genomic approach to identify potential reservoirs for the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern
- The University of Nottingham will develop and deploy a sequencing pipeline for seasonal human coronaviruses to monitor for recombination with SARS-CoV-2 and post-pandemic evolution.