The COVID-19 virus is mutating rapidly. As subvariants like BA.4 and BA.5 emerge, we must act fast to curb the pandemic. Vaccination is the most effective way to control epidemic, but the protection it offers declines as the virus evolves. Predicting vaccine effectiveness in a short time frame is key to winning this battle. CUHK researchers have developed a bioinformatics platform that can provide a snapshot of vaccine effectiveness in real time, instead of it taking months.
Innovative algorithms developed by a CUHK team, using bioinformatics analysis of virus genome, can estimate vaccine effectiveness (VE) by quantifying the relationship between the genetic mismatch between flu vaccines and current virus strains. This real-time prediction method of VE early in flu season gives the government a heads-up in selecting effective vaccines and organising resources before mass vaccination.