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Simulation Study Suggests SARS-CoV-2 Surveillance Sensitivity Hinges on Testing Rates

A team from the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the US considers relationships between SARS-CoV-2 surveillance success and factors ranging from COVID-19 testing rates and sampling approaches to SARS-CoV-2 sequencing proportions in low- and middle-income countries. As they report in Nature Genetics, the researchers recognize that SARS-CoV-2 test rates are declining around the world, with rates averaging some 27 tests per 100,000 people each day in low- or middle-income countries. Based on their simulations, they suggest that countries with test rates of roughly 100 tests per 100,000 people a day would be better poised to pick up new SARS-CoV-2 variants and achieve relatively reliable variant prevalence estimates. At the moment, they say "low testing rates and spatiotemporal biases delay time to detection of new variants by weeks to months and can lead to unreliable estimates of variant prevalence, even when the proportion of samples sequenced is increased."

The Scan

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.

Sequencing Analysis Examines Gene Regulatory Networks of Honeybee Soldier, Forager Brains

Researchers in Nature Ecology & Evolution find gene regulatory network differences between soldiers and foragers, suggesting bees can take on either role.

Analysis of Ashkenazi Jewish Cohort Uncovers New Genetic Loci Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

The study in Alzheimer's & Dementia highlighted known genes, but also novel ones with biological ties to Alzheimer's disease.

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.