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Quick Viral Tracing

Researchers in Australia have found that a nanopore sequencing strategy could quickly trace the source of a SARS-CoV-2 infection, Reuters reports.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, researchers at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and the University of New South Wales say a nanopore sequencing approach could trace COVID-19 infections within hours. "When a new 'mystery' coronavirus case is identified, every minute counts," senior author Ira Deveson from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research says, according to Reuters.

As Deveson and his colleagues report in Nature Communications, they compared how well Oxford Nanopore Technologies' nanopore sequencing approach and Illumina's short-read sequencing approach performed on SARS-CoV-2 samples. They note that the adoption of nanopore sequencing for this application has been limited due to accuracy concerns. They report, however, that it had high sensitivity and precision.

Co-author Bill Rawlinson from NSW Health Pathology tells the Herald that though shotgun sequencing might be more accurate, nanopore sequencing could help when a quick answer is needed.