Covid, new low cost test finds variants more quickly

The genetic heritage of the covid treated as a tumor to reveal the variants of the virus, but also the DNA of the individual tumor cells. To find them in real time is a new rapid and low cost test, able to halve the time needed for genomic mapping today. This new system, called Covseq, was developed by a team of researchers from the Karolinska Instututet in Stockholm and the Candiolo Fpo-Irccs Institute and the Amedeo di Savoia hospital in Turin. The innovative Italian-Swedish technique, published today in ‘Nature Communication’, will also be useful for mapping the cancer genome, offering greater timeliness and cost control for cancer centers. “With Covseq we are able to sequence hundreds of viral samples per week – explains Nicola Crosetto, first author of the publication and coordinator of the research – at a cost of less than 15 euros per sample, considerably lower than that of the methods currently available. Covseq allows the genetic analysis in parallel of the sequences of more than one sample using very small reaction volumes, thanks to a particular equipment already available in Candiolo and a technique called multiplex PCR to amplify the entire viral genome. Subsequently each sample is ‘tagged’, that is, marked with a molecular barcode, a label that distinguishes it from all the others making it unique. This makes it possible to analyze in a short time, and with low costs – he underlines – many genomic sequences “.” The Covseq method. it is already fully functional in Candiolo – says Antonino Sottile, general director of the Candiol Institute o Fpo-Irccs and co-author of the study – where we are further validating it, in parallel with diagnostic kits approved by the authority, as part of the genomic surveillance of Sars-Cov-2 that the Candiolo Institute carries out weekly for the Region Piedmont and monthly for the Higher Institute of Health. Genomic surveillance in the coming months is crucial to promptly intercept the appearance of new viral variants in the already vaccinated population, especially in fragile subjects such as cancer patients “.

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