Integrating genomic, serological and epidemiological information to understand the emergence, spread and establishment of novel SARS-CoV-2 variants


  • Mr Charles Whittaker

    Imperial College London, United Kingdom

Project summary

Recent months have seen the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants that are more transmissible, cause more severe disease, and able to partially evade immunity from prior infection. Their emergence has led to resurgence of transmission in many areas where the virus was previously under control. Some of these variants have been associated with reduced effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, threatening strategies for long-term control of the virus. I will develop a mathematical-model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission integrating epidemiological and genomic data to better characterise and explore the spread of key SARS-CoV-2 variants to date, and use the insights from this work to understand the threat future variants could pose to an increasingly vaccinated world. This work will improve our understanding of how and why SARS-CoV-2 variants spread; inform policymakers aiming to minimise the public-health impact of future variants; and provide insight into the ways public-health interventions (such as vaccination campaigns) influence viral evolution.