Why are some breakthrough COVID-19 cases severe? CDC seeks answers

The CDC has awarded Helix a contract to study how human genetics may influence COVID-19 vaccine efficacy, the population genomics and viral surveillance company said Jan. 4. 

The study will analyze up to 10,000 people who've had breakthrough infections with severe outcomes, despite being fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

"The new research conducted by Helix and CDC will uncover meaningful information to better understand and inform what we know of long COVID and other adverse effects," Daniel Lee, Helix's senior vice president of life sciences and growth, said in a news release. "This includes the durability of vaccine-induced immunity, spacing between vaccine doses and more, all against the backdrop of emerging viral variants within the context of an individual's underlying human genetics."

The new initiative further expands the CDC's partnership with Helix, which already helps the agency track COVID-19 variants. Last month, the CDC also awarded Helix a $5 million contract to develop a pan-respiratory viral surveillance program with Renton, Wash.-based Providence and Bloomington, Minn.-based HealthPartners. 


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