The END-VOC approach – identifying SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern
END-VOC studies circulation and impact of emerging VOCs
Persistent circulation of SARS-CoV-2 in the population induces the appearance of genetic mutations that can have different effects on the virus. Some mutations may have little impact on the virus, while others alter its ability to spread and evade immunity, which can affect treatment outcomes and disease severity. So-called Variants of Concern (VOCs) are potentially more pathogenic, more transmissible and better at evading the immune system than the original virus, making them a threat to public health. The objective of the END-VOC project is therefore to evaluate the evolution and impact of SARS-CoV-2 VOCs in order to better prepare for future variant outbreaks.
International collaborations to characterize VOCs
The project “ENDing COVID-19 Variants Of concern through Cohort studies” (END-VOC) is funded by the European Union. The project started in May 2022 and will last for 36 months. The END-VOC consortium is made up of 19 partners from 23 countries in Europe, South America, Africa, Middle East and Asia gathering 28 cohorts. This multidisciplinary collaboration brings together experts in various fields ranging from immunology to public health policy. To achieve the goals of the project, qualitative and extensive cohort data will be analyzed to study the transmissibility of VOCs, as well as their impact on treatment, immunity and long COVID. Characterizing VOCs and understanding their emergence and circulation will help to better prepare for future infectious disease outbreaks.
LNS provides its expertise to the project
Being member of the END-VOC consortium, an important objective of the LNS Microbiology Department within the project is to reinforce and develop collaborations with international partners. All members share their expertise to pursue the same goals and LNS contributes with its knowledge in virology and genomics by leading or co-leading several tasks of the project.
This project is a major opportunity for LNS and Luxembourg to be recognized as a solid partner in European projects. I am proud and excited to collaborate with internationally recognized partners and help better understand the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 as well as to better prepare Europe for a new pandemic.
Scientific Project Manager