Tracking Coronavirus Variants With Whole Genome Sequencing

Posted on:
May 21, 2021
Author:
Suresh

Whole Genome Sequencing: Keeping an eye on the invisible monster

Whole-genome sequencing services are working round the clock like never before. The second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic was an expected one. But no one was prepared for its ferocious onslaught that has been like a mega-tsunami and a catastrophe of epic proportions. The Novel Coronavirus is fast mutating and morphing into an unconquerable monster. 

Several variants of the virus have already been identified worldwide. As India battles the second wave, genome services are sequencing hundreds of thousands of samples as public health agencies are scrambling to find answers to hundreds of questions about the nature of the virus and how it will change the course of the pandemic. 

Viral surveillance with Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) is at an all-time high. Many public and private genomic labs are involved in tracking the mutation and analysing if the mutation weakens or makes the virus more contagious and deadly. The Covid-19 Genomics UK Consortium and the USAs Center for Disease Control (CDC) are sequencing close to 30,000 viral genomes per week.

The role of Whole Genome Sequencing services in tracking the Coronavirus

Advanced scientific technologies like Whole Genome Sequencing Analysis are instrumental in providing in-depth insight into a virus that is playing havoc with humankind. By sequencing the entire viral genome, researchers, doctors, and scientists can track the genetic changes within the virus as it burns through the population.

This comprehensive technology plays a crucial role as the pandemic rages on. It helps to understand many facets pivotal for better diagnosis and therapies. 

  • Viral transmission

The genetic sequence of viral genomes collected from thousands of patients throws light on how the virus spreads within the population. With this information, public health authorities can identify “super spreaders” who are individuals with the capacity to transmit the infection to many people. The sequence also helps determine if the virus variants can spread the disease faster than expected. 

  • Viral evolution

Like every other living organism, it is the natural tendency of the Coronavirus to mutate to survive in the host. As it undergoes mutation, the virus may become more virulent or less virulent. WGS predicts the emergence of more virulent variants at the early stages, thus helping public healthcare systems to step up vigilant measures to curb the spread of the virus. 

  • Revamping treatment and vaccines

Upping the ante with improved medication, treatment protocols, and efficient vaccines is of paramount importance because the virus is not likely to wane and vanish anytime soon. Continuous genome sequencing is the only way to keep a wary eye on viral evolution and upgrade medical treatments and vaccine efficacy. Tracking the viral DNA sequence also helps researchers better understand how protective the vaccines are against the virus. 

  • Automation and AI-enabled benefits

Whole-genome sequencing methods that labs are currently adapting are enhanced with the latest computer tools and technology. Complete automation of the process ensures the sequencing is quick and accurate. The technology has also allowed facilities across the world to exchange genome data as new variants emerge. Artificial Intelligence makes it possible to evaluate the 3D structures of the virus to improve the efficacy of future vaccines and drugs.

With high tech automation, sequencing labs can:

  • Streamline the entire sequencing process.
  • Sequences thousands of viral genomes at the same time.
  • Sequencing results can be viewed and analysed from any location.
  • The technology can seamlessly align with existing sequencing equipment.

Yaazh Xenomics: Chennai’s best genomic facility for Whole Genome Sequencing services

Yaazh Xenomics is one of Chennai’s leading genomic labs involved in whole-genome sequencing of the Novel Coronavirus. Our facility is well-equipped with the latest sequencing devices and computer technology required to sequence many samples and derive quick results. For more details, please contact us.

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