A new rapid genomics strategy to trace coronavirus

Researchers at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and the Kirby Institute at UNSW Sydney have developed a rapid coronavirus genome sequencing strategy, the fastest till date in Australia. This is thanks to cutting-edge 'Nanopore' genome sequencing technology.

According to the researchers, every time the SARS-CoV-2 virus passes from person to person, it may make copying errors that change a couple of its 30,000 genetic letters.

By identifying this genetic variation, they can establish how different cases of coronavirus are linked -- to know where a case was potentially picked up from and to whom they may have given it to. The current leading method reads short genetic sequences of just 100-150 genetic letters at a time. However, Nanopore technologies have no higher limit to the length of DNA fragments that can be sequenced and hence, are able to more rapidly determine the complete sequence of a viral genome. The Nanopore sequencing method is highly accurate, with >99% sensitivity and >99% precision and provides best practice guidelines. Nanopore sequencing also has the potential to enhance SARS-CoV-2 surveillance by enabling point-of-care sequencing and improved turnaround times for critical cases. Source: Garvin Institute of Medical Research