Viral load estimation using digital PCR and RT-PCR in patients infected with omicron subvariants and its correlation with clinical features
About the session
Since January 2019, COVID-19, caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has been a health problem of major concern worldwide. The comparatively milder levels of disease severity caused by Omicron, the latest COVID-19 variant, in relation to previous variants of concern, has led to a relaxation in preventive measures. Correspondingly, the global population is currently seeing a resurgence of the disease.
In this study, we aim to measure the viral load of patients positive for Omicron subvariants to understand any correlation that exists between viral load and disease progression for specific subvariants. Viral load will be measured using the novel QIAcuity dPCR System, and all samples will be sequenced to determine the lineage of the variant affecting every patient.
A better understanding of the correlation between subvariants, viral load and disease progression is necessary to provide patients with relevant recommendations for quarantine and to determine effective testing strategies. Only with continuous efforts to follow virus evolution can we gain an understanding of viral fitness, infectivity patterns and clinical outcomes.
The potential rise of multiple new variants leading to a severe epidemic rebound is still a concern for the future. As we understand virus evolution and disease progression better, superior testing strategies to detect and isolate cases can be designed to allow the elimination of hotspot formation and contribute to controlling the spread of the disease.
Laura Isabela Uribe Figueroa is a biochemist with a strong background in molecular biology. She has been active in the field of genomics for the last 15 years.
Laura has a B.Sc. in Biochemistry from the National University of Mexico, Mexico City, and a Master’s degree in Applied Bioscience from Nottingham University, UK.
Laura was a Researcher at the National Institute of Genomic Medicine (INMEGN), Mexico City. In addition to leading the implementation of microarray technology at INMEGN, she was also the Lab Manager of the Genotyping and Gene Expression service lab for six years at this institute. Her research interests were focused on pharmacogenomics, copy number variation and disease biology as well as the adoption of new technologies for gene expression analysis in different settings.
She has previously held a Marketing Manager position for clinical application products at Affymetrix/Thermo Fisher and later a marketing and technical role for single-cell sequencing products at a startup.
In 2017, Laura began consulting companies with a focus on pharmacogenomics, diagnostic and forensic applications that were interested in implementing genomic initiatives in Mexico. With a strong desire to create a molecular diagnostic laboratory startup, she consolidated and co-founded Arión Genetica, Mexico City, in November 2020. She is now the Scientific and Lab Director of this private laboratory, which offers molecular testing and biochemistry labs with a number of tests for the detection of infectious diseases as well as reproductive health and precision medicine.