Covid Sequencing: The Urgency For A Rapid Genetic Sequencing In Battling The Pandemic

Covid Sequencing: The Urgency For A Rapid Genetic Sequencing In Battling The Pandemic :

With more variants of SARS-CoV-2 developing in communities around the globe, there is a rising desire for a national and international partnership to study those variants – including if there are any variants that are more contagious and how they are spreading.

While PCR is a highly effective and scalable method utilized extensively in laboratories throughout the world for COVID sequencing, it cannot provide comprehensive insight into the virus’s whole genome — here is where the modern technology of next-generation sequencing (NGS) enters into the picture.

According to the study, NGS is being utilized for COVID-19 global surveillance efforts to monitor and to know the emerging variants.

Researchers across the globe have used the panel to research what is the mode of transmission of the virus and decipher any changes with its genetic code. Now, recognizing the immediate demand to intensify the efforts to discover and monitor the recently discovered strains and their developing variants, more clinical lab directors are supporting global efforts in identifying variants among individuals who tested positive for COVID-19.

Covid Sequencing: How Genetic Sequencing is Being Used for Surveillance and To Track Emerging Strains of Coronavirus?

Mostly when we talk about tracking the virus, our brains instantly fly to diagnostics: would anyone have COVID-19 or not. There is a possibility that it could be discerned by genetic Covid sequencing. However, it is not the most accurate or cost-effective approach to determine whether a specimen is negative or positive for SARS-CoV-2 — the diagnosis is mostly being made via PCR or antigen testing. Where researchers are employing next-generation Covid sequencing, it is for genetic epidemiology — the potential to sequence a particularly new viral strain and compare it to the identified and existing ones and includes those not yet discovered today.

When Covid sequencing is being done with the virus’s genome, we may observe any base mutations that arise and can map these alterations to the particular function of the virus. For instance, when examining the spike protein, which is how the virus penetrates a cell, Covid sequencing has enabled us to identify that more infectious strains have a tighter attachment to human cells. This is tremendously helpful in estimating the danger of emerging strains and will better understand those already circulating.

In the case of the Covid-19 U.K. variant, statistics indicate that it was initially infecting relatively few individuals, but in the span of just a month, it was already infecting most people within some areas. Through Covid sequencing, experts were able to understand that it is probably a more resistant strain because the people are getting too close with each other and that quarantines aren’t working well. While the indications are not more serious, the sheer amount of the population getting sick underlines the necessity of detecting if someone could be infected with this variant against another and tracking their transmission extensively from the public health standpoint.

Why Is There an Urgency to Boost Up Covid Sequencing Efforts?

The urgency has come partially from learning that in the United States, experts had just sequenced a portion of the genomes needed to detect and track strains. The integration of regulatory actions and planned legislation to finance surveillance by up to $2BN has brought increased concern and desire for wider-spread sequencing.

Heading back to last spring, the main priority in the U.S. was on testing — building up accessibility in testing and ensuring that contact tracing activities were in place if someone did test positive with Covid-19. With these new strains, though, they were caught flat-footed. No one is expecting the virus to change to the level it did, and as swiftly as we are currently seeing. Even with just one variant, researchers are detecting as many as 17 mutations, which is exceedingly rare in this short length of time.

While we could determine somebody was infected, we did not know who had been infected by these novel strains or the degree of the transmission in many situations. PCR testing only examines certain regions on its genome to determine if a specimen is negative or positive for coronavirus. Certain variations – notably the U.K. variant – have a mutation in one of those regions, which could be flagged using the PCR test. Although the PCR test will not show additional mutations within the viral genome, that is getting more and more critical and essential – only Covid sequencing can accomplish that.

Other nations have dedicated themselves to bigger Covid sequencing initiatives, and the U.S. is starting to follow suit. For instance, Germany has declared it would sequence 5 percent of all infected COVID patients in the community to better track virus transmission and how the novel strains are infecting the population and have set reimbursement for the expenses that labs spend when they undertake this kind of Covid sequencing.

Despite the best purposes of regulatory authorities, there are about 250,000 viral genomes from COVID tests in worldwide public databases, but only around 50,000 were sequenced in the U.S. Researchers are striving to raise this rate, and new programs are dramatically boosting the number of genomes the United States is collecting.

Regulatory organizations have underlined the necessity of Covid sequencing through their own efforts. The United States Food and Drug (FDA) is following how novel variations are altering molecular test accuracy and have urged for the significance of genetic sequencing. Furthermore, the CDC is leading the Covid Sequencing for Public Health Emergency Response, Epidemiology, and Surveillance (SPHERES), a national genomics cooperative to coordinate Covid sequencing across the United States.

To support this effort, CDC has collaborated with labs throughout the country. While countries have been encouraged to pursue their own paths regarding Covid sequencing over the recent months, this unified leadership affirms the necessity of Covid sequencing on a local and international level. Clinical laboratory directors continue to express strong interest in doing Covid sequencing in local as well as regional labs closer to the doctors and patients they are serving. This enables more laboratories to detect variants and track their transmission more quickly. Once they have such information, they may notify local public health agencies and provide them with reliable and actionable data.






Covid Sequencing: The Urgency For A Rapid Genetic Sequencing In Battling The Pandemic



Covid Sequencing: The Urgency For A Rapid Genetic Sequencing In Battling The Pandemic

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