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Helix, CDC Partner to Study Genetics of Vaccine Effectiveness

NEW YORK – Helix said on Wednesday that it will partner with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study the genetics of vaccine effectiveness across SARS-CoV-2 variants. Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed.

The San Mateo, California-based population genomics company noted that the partnership will examine as many as 10,000 individuals who have had breakthrough COVID-19 infections and severe outcomes despite vaccination. The project is expected to generate data on the host genetics of vaccine effectiveness and interactions between host and viral genetic variation.

Daniel Lee, Helix's senior VP of life sciences and growth, said in a statement that the new research "will uncover meaningful information to better understand and inform what we know of long COVID and other adverse effects," including immunity development and vaccine dose spacing.

The dataset generated by the project will also provide information about the underlying genetics and biology of immunogenicity and vaccine effectiveness, which Helix noted varies across the population. This data in turn may be used to inform more precise drug development, the firm said.

Last month, Helix announced a $5 million public-private partnership with the CDC to develop a surveillance system tracking approximately 30 respiratory viral variants. That work will sample 16,000 patients per year from two large regional healthcare systems.