Next-gen sequencing tech screens thousands of COVID-19 samples

2021 01 08 22 21 6464 Sars Co V 2 Rna 400

An automated robotics platform using next-generation sequencing can screen thousands of COVID-19 samples at one time, according to a study published March 3 in Nature Communications.

The C19-SPAR-Seq platform has the potential to revolutionize how labs track the spread of viruses, like SARS-CoV-2, and other pathogens, the researchers from the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute (LTRI) who created the platform noted.

It has a sensitivity rate higher than 95% in positive cases during peak onset. The platform is inexpensive, costing $8 per test when running thousands of samples at once. The cost per sample decreases due to economies of scale.

In late 2020, the team turned to the robotics platform again to screen thousands of positive samples for variants by rapidly sequencing fingerprint regions of the viral genome to look for key mutations.

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