BioNTech (NSDQ:BNTX) and the enterprise AI company InstaDeep have announced that they have created an early warning system to improve the monitoring of potentially dangerous SARS-CoV-2 variants.
The companies claim that the system spotted more than 90% of WHO-designated variants an average of two months before the organization officially classified them. For example, the system classified the omicron variant as “high risk” on the same day its sequence was released.
BioNTech and InstaDeep plan on publishing the research in a peer-reviewed journal. The study is currently available as a pre-print. The paper notes that hundreds of new variants emerge daily, but most do not significantly alter the course of the pandemic.
The AI system considers the structure of the viral variants’ spike protein and their immune escape proclivity.
The two companies used in-house experimental data and public data to test the system’s accuracy.
Dr. Ugur Sahin, CEO of BioNTech, anticipates that the system could give vaccine developers and health authorities a headstart in responding to a high-risk variant.
“More than 10,000 novel variant sequences are currently discovered every week, and human experts simply cannot cope with complex data at this scale,” said Karim Beguir, co-founder and CEO of InstaDeep, in a statement.
Filed Under: Data science