A research team at the School of Pharmacy of the University of Southern California, which includes two South Korean professors named Park Sung-yong and Lee Ha-yeon, developed a more rapid and accurate sequencing method for COVID-19. The team published on U.S. online journal Scientific Reports on Thursday (local time) how to analyze the COVID-19 virus by applying the next-generation long-read sequencing method.
The team said it applied the method and successfully sequenced the virus detected on 25 people infected with COVID-19 from Los Angeles, California from April to June in 2020. Previously, a short-read sequencing method was used by fragmenting the gene of the COVID-19 virus into about 100 pieces to identify the virus and potential variation. The team divided the gene into three parts, significantly reducing time and cost. The sequencing process can be shortened from the current 10 or so days to a few days.
The World Health Organization has been urging countries around the world to speed up the sequencing of the COVID-19 virus. However, responses to an unprecedented pandemic based on the previous method have been experiencing limitations as the global average rate of sequencing is barely above one percent. The new research results are likely to make an important contribution to ending COVID-19. In particular, it will play an important role in studying variant viruses as the genomes sequenced by the team include the delta and beta variants.