Global landscape of SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance and data sharing

Global landscape of SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance and data sharing
Analyses on the global diversity of SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance across 118 countries and the extent of public availability of genomic data provide evidence to better inform SARS-CoV-2 surveillance policy.
Zhiyuan Chen, Andrew S. Azman, Hongjie Yu
Analysis | 28 March 2022 | Open Access
Nature Genetics, Volume 54 Issue 4, April 2022
Genomic surveillance has shaped our understanding of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants. We performed a global landscape analysis on SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance and genomic data using a collection of country-specific data. Here, we characterize increasing circulation of the Alpha variant in early 2021, subsequently replaced by the Delta variant around May 2021. SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance and sequencing availability varied markedly across countries, with 45 countries performing a high level of routine genomic surveillance and 96 countries with a high availability of SARS-CoV-2 sequencing. We also observed a marked heterogeneity of sequencing percentage, sequencing technologies, turnaround time and completeness of released metadata across regions and income groups. A total of 37% of countries with explicit reporting on variants shared less than half of their sequences of variants of concern (VOCs) in public repositories. Our findings indicate an urgent need to increase timely and full sharing of sequences, the standardization of metadata files and support for countries with limited sequencing and bioinformatics capacity.

Ethical and practical considerations for cell and gene therapy toward an HIV cure: findings from a qualitative in-depth interview study in the United States

Ethical and practical considerations for cell and gene therapy toward an HIV cure: findings from a qualitative in-depth interview study in the United States
Authors: Karine Dubé, John Kanazawa, Hursch Patel, Michael Louella, Laurie Sylla, Jeff Sheehy, Lynda Dee, Jeff Taylor, Jen Adair, Kim Anthony-Gonda, Boro Dropulić, John A. Sauceda, Michael J. Peluso, Steven G. Deeks and Jane Simoni
Content type: Research
BMC Medical Ethics, 9 April 2022
HIV cure research involving cell and gene therapy has intensified in recent years. There is a growing need to identify ethical standards and safeguards to ensure cell and gene therapy (CGT) HIV cure research remains valued and acceptable to as many stakeholders as possible as it advances on a global scale.
To elicit preliminary ethical and practical considerations to guide CGT HIV cure research, we implemented a qualitative, in-depth interview study with three key stakeholder groups in the United States: (1) biomedical HIV cure researchers, (2) bioethicists, and (3) community stakeholders. Interviews permitted evaluation of informants’ perspectives on how CGT HIV cure research should ethically occur, and were transcribed verbatim. We applied conventional content analysis focused on inductive reasoning to analyze the rich qualitative data and derive key ethical and practical considerations related to CGT towards an HIV cure.
We interviewed 13 biomedical researchers, 5 community members, and 1 bioethicist. Informants generated considerations related to: perceived benefits of CGT towards an HIV cure, perceived risks, considerations necessary to ensure an acceptable benefit/risk balance, CGT strategies considered unacceptable, additional ethical considerations, and considerations for first-in-human CGT HIV cure trials. Informants also proposed important safeguards to developing CGT approaches towards an HIV cure, such as the importance of mitigating off-target effects, mitigating risks associated with long-term duration of CGT interventions, and mitigating risks of immune overreactions.
Our study identified preliminary considerations for CGT-based HIV cure across three key stakeholder groups. Respondents identified an ideal cure strategy as one which would durably control HIV infection, protect the individual from re-acquisition, and eliminate transmission to others. Known and unknown risks should be anticipated and perceived as learning opportunities to preserve and honor the altruism of participants. Preclinical studies should support these considerations and be transparently reviewed by regulatory experts and peers prior to first-in-human studies. To protect the public trust in CGT HIV cure research, ethical and practical considerations should be periodically revisited and updated as the science continues to evolve. Additional ethics studies are required to expand stakeholder participation to include traditionally marginalized groups and clinical care providers.