Can new tools help with early detection of COVID?

Scientists at Scripps Research and the University of California, San Diego, discovered the Alpha, Delta and Omicron variants days before it was first reported clinically from municipal wastewater.

Professor Kristian Andersen said: “In many places, standard clinical surveillance for novel variants of interest is not only slow but also extremely expensive. In Immunology and Microbiology at Scripps Research.


The team deployed 131 automated wastewater samplers to collect wastewater from 343 campus buildings and 17 public schools across four San Diego school districts, and sampled from treatment facilities. major wastewater in the county.

For nearly a year, the team analyzed more than 20,000 wastewater samples.

Detecting COVID from wastewater

“It’s been difficult to take all these tiny bits of virus floating around in wastewater and find them in different variants and abundances,” said Joshua Levy, a Scripps Research postdoctoral fellow. what is their relative?”

They often do this by sequencing the viral genome from patients, which is a slow and expensive process and is becoming increasingly less efficient at capturing the range and diversity of variants. Covid-19 as more people turn to home testing.

Levy has developed a library of “barcodes” that identify SARS-CoV-2 variants based on their RNA shortcodes that are unique to each variant. He then coded a new computational tool that sifts through the volume of genetic information in the wastewater to find these barcodes. He made the new program Freyja easy to use and free.

“If you’re in a lab that can already sequence a wastewater sample, then you should get started – you just run this code and it’s 20 seconds away,” he says.


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Source: IANS

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