Videos & Webinars

Webinar: Responding to Emerging SARS-CoV-2 Variants – The Impact on Existing Diagnostic Testing and the Clinical Utility of Differentiation Assays

26 February 2021

As new variants of SARS-CoV-2 circulate around the globe, there is growing concern among clinical laboratories that these variants may impact their ability to accurately detect the virus. Understanding the impact of these variants on molecular testing methods and how labs can address this added complexity is important to managing the diagnostic response to the ongoing pandemic.

In this webinar Dr. Martin Stürmer discusses the effects of emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants on diagnostic methods and the clinical utility of detecting and discriminating them. Thomas Alef will then present how their clinical lab was able to react to the emergence of new, often more contagious, variants of the virus by rapidly designing a highly multiplexed SARS-CoV-2 variant panel using the low-cost, high-throughput MassARRAY® System from Agena Bioscience®.


Martin Stürmer, PhD
Laboratory Head , IMD Labor Frankfurt

Dr. Martin Stürmer is based in Frankfurt, Germany, where he is a renowned virologist and the laboratory head of IMD Labor Frankfurt. Dr. Stürmer is a leader in the fields of genotyping, gene sequencing, and investigation of transmission events of viral pathogens. His scientific career has spanned nearly 30 years, including positions from scientific assistant to laboratory head of genotyping and sequencing within both the HIV Outpatient Clinic and the Institute for Medical Virology at the University Hospital Frankfurt. He also served as the diagnostics coordinator at the National Reference Center for Retroviruses prior to his current position with IMD Labor Frankfurt, where he has been since 2017. Dr. Stürmer is an active member of multiple scientific committees within Germany.

Thomas Alef
Biologist, Seq-IT

Thomas Alef has been involved in biological research for almost 25 years. He received his education from the University of Bonn in Germany and throughout his career he worked on several research projects at the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany, and the Cologne Center for Genomics, University of Cologne, Germany. Over the last nine years he has been one of the lead senior scientists at the Institute of Immunology and Genetics and at SEQ-IT in Kaiserslautern, Germany. While the Institute of Immunology and Genetics focuses on the medical-diagnostic field, SEQ-IT is a provider of molecular biology services. Thomas is involved in routine molecular diagnostics as well as in developing assays used in multiple settings.

Darryl Irwin, PhD
Vice President, Scientific Affairs, Agena Bioscience

Dr. Irwin has been leading the Scientific Affairs and Assays by Agena operations at Agena Bioscience (and its predecessor Sequenom Inc.) in Asia Pacific, and more recently in a global capacity, for 12 years. Previously, Darryl led the genotyping division at the Australian Genome Research Facility. Darryl has also held positions at the Mater Laboratory Services, a hospital-based clinical genetics laboratory and Agen Biomedical, an immuno-diagnostics manufacturer. Darryl has a PhD from the University of Queensland in Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) and a BSc in Biotechnology from the Queensland University of Technology. Darryl has authored more than 20 publications, numerous book chapters, and holds several patents.