College of Natural Sciences

 

The University of Texas COVID-19 Modeling Consortium

COVID-19 Variant Detection

This tool estimates the minimum number of COVID+ specimens that should be sequenced to detect a novel variant of SARS-CoV-2 that is a rare relative to the dominant variant. The "desired detection threshold" indicates how early we aim to detect the variant. 

For example, if we aim to detect an emerging variant by the time it is occuring within 0.5% (1 in 200) of all COVID+ cases with 95% confidence, then the tool recommends sequencing at least 2,995 COVID+ samples. This assumes that the sequenced specimens are a rare representative sample from among all COVID+ cases.

The recommended number of specimens generally increases with the specified speed and confidence detection. 

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