Helix to Advance and Intensify Viral Early Warning Efforts with Financial Support from the Rockefeller Foundation


Invest in critical infrastructure to close critical gaps in variant tracking

SAN MATEO, California and NEW YORK, 23 December 2021 / PRNewswire / – The Rockefeller Foundation’s Pandemic Prevention Institute (PPI) announced today that it will provide funding to Helix, a leader in nationwide viral surveillance for SARS-CoV-2, to rapidly advancing the necessary infrastructure, data systems and technology on a larger scale and connecting genomic surveillance to a larger network for better results. This collaboration makes it possible to meet the national need for faster, more complete and consistent viral sequencing in the service of public health.

Helix (PRNewsfoto / Helix Inc)

Funding from the Rockefeller Foundation enables Helix to rapidly advance genomic surveillance efforts around viral threats.

“The rapid spread of Omicron continues to underscore the need for sustainable pathogen surveillance capacities that will enable local communities to prepare for and prevent pandemic epidemics,” said Dr. Rick bright, senior vice president of Pandemic Prevention and Response at the Rockefeller Foundation and CEO of the Pandemic Prevention Institute. “Helix’s ability to deploy, coordinate and deliver the latest laboratory and data capabilities for national viral surveillance illustrates the importance of public-private partnerships in pandemic prevention efforts today and into the future. “

Viral surveillance through genetic epidemiology – a tool that takes advantage of next-generation sequencing (NGS) to track patterns of transmission and emergence of viral variant types – is increasingly being deployed to track COVID-19. Using the NGS for SARS-CoV-2 and future respiratory pathogens, public health officials will be able to flag emerging outbreaks to inform public health directions and tailor local policy to prevent regional outbreaks before that they do not spread.

“We are delighted to partner with the Pandemic Prevention Institute to develop sustainable technologies for data generation and exchange to improve pathogen surveillance,” said Dr. James Lu, CEO and co-founder of Helix. “These capabilities are essential for COVID-19 today and will also be essential for monitoring other respiratory pathogens like pandemic influenza. The acceleration of new technologies will allow supplier systems and public health to rethink how they take care of their populations. “

As of the winter of 2020, Helix, in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has been using its next-generation sequencing capability to aid in national surveillance efforts. Through its public viral surveillance dashboard and routine data sharing, Helix provides regular reports to state public health, health systems and other health facilities. Helix has published over a dozen pre-printed, peer-reviewed publications on viral sequences, several of which were among the first to accurately predict the spread of a variant across United States.

This collaboration will support the development of increased viral respiratory disease surveillance capacities, initially in five health systems, including several dedicated to supporting underserved communities through United States. This is an important step in bringing together laboratories and data capacities to advance the global goal of ending the current pandemic and preventing future ones.

About Helix
Helix is ​​the leading population genomics company operating at the intersection of clinical care, research and genomics. Its end-to-end platform enables healthcare systems, life science companies and payers to advance genomic research and accelerate the integration of genomic data into clinical care. Helix, with support from the NIH RADx-ATP program, currently operates one of the largest and most capable laboratories to perform high-throughput diagnostic PCR tests in the United States and provides viral surveillance at scale. to meet the needs of health systems, employers, governments and organizations across the country. Learn more at www.helix.com/.

About the Institute for Pandemic Prevention
The mission of the Pandemic Prevention Institute is to contribute to the crucial work of building systems that detect, prevent and mitigate pandemic threats, leading to rapid and effective containment. The PPI pursues its mission by integrating cutting-edge technology and analytical approaches that turn data into actions that lead to vital decisions; a federated network of users and data holders with global representation; and collaborative leadership at the global level. For more information on partners, data solutions and more, visit www.rockefellerfoundation.org/pandemicpreventioninstitute/ and follow us on Twitter @PPI_Insights.

About the Rockefeller Foundation
The Rockefeller Foundation is a pioneering philanthropy founded on collaborative partnerships at the frontiers of science, technology and innovation to empower individuals, families and communities. We work to promote the well-being of humanity and make opportunities universal. Our goal is to develop renewable energies for all, to stimulate economic mobility and to ensure equitable access to healthy and nutritious food. For more information, sign up for our newsletter at rockefellerfoundation.org and follow us on Twitter @RockefellerFdn.

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The Rockefeller Foundation
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