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Highly Accurate Chip-Based Technology Improves COVID-19 Testing and Tracing

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 03 May 2021
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A team of researchers has developed a chip that provides a simpler and more rapid method of genome sequencing for viruses like COVID-19.

Scientists at The University of New Mexico (Albuquerque, NM, USA) created a tiled genome array they had developed for rapid and inexpensive full viral genome resequencing and applied their SARS-CoV-2-specific genome tiling array to rapidly and accurately resequenced the viral genome from eight clinical samples acquired from patients in Wyoming that tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Ultimately, they were able to sequence 95% of the genome of each sample with greater than 99.9% accuracy.

With more than 142 million people worldwide having contracted the virus, vigilant testing and contact tracing are the most effective ways to slow the spread of COVID-19. Traditional methods of clinical testing often produce false positives or negatives, and traditional methods of sequencing are time-consuming and expensive. This new technology will virtually eliminate all of these barriers.

“This new technology allows for faster and more accurate tracing of COVID and other respiratory viruses, including the appearance of new variants,” said Jeremy Edwards, director of the Computational Genomics and Technology (CGaT) Laboratory at The University of New Mexico. “With this simple and rapid testing procedure, scientists will be able to more accurately track the progression and better prevent the onset of the next pandemic.”

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