New Delhi: Genotyping technique can detect new variants of SARS-CoV-2 almost a week more quickly than traditional methods, according to a study published in The Lancet Microbe journal. Genotyping is the process of determining differences in the genetic make-up (genotype) of an individual by examining the individual’s DNA sequence using biological assays and comparing it to another individual’s sequence or a reference sequence.
The researchers said genotyping allowed COVID variant information to be more rapidly detected and communicated to frontline health protection professionals at the height of the pandemic.
The technique also helped to implement local control measures such as contact tracing more rapidly, they said. Lead researcher Iain Lake, a professor at the University of East Anglia in the UK said,
When the COVID pandemic began, the variant with which people were infected was initially determined using a highly accurate technique known as whole genome sequencing.
Whole genome sequencing is the gold standard diagnostic tool for identifying and genetically characterising variants. But in situations where large populations need to be assessed rapidly, cost, capacity and timeliness limit its utility. Mr Lake said,
The technology—known as ‘genotype assay testing’ or genotyping—allows scientists to explore genetic variants.
The team studied data for more than 115,000 (1.15 lakh) cases where COVID variant information was available from both genotyping and whole genome sequencing.
By comparing the variant result from genotyping with the result from whole genome sequencing, they demonstrated that the genotyping results were very accurate. Mr Lake said,
We found that genotyping was able to detect known COVID variants more quickly and cheaply than whole genome sequencing. They produced variant results six days faster than whole genome sequencing—with results back in just three days, compared to nine days for whole genome sequencing.
The researchers also found that genotyping enabled a nine-fold increase in the quantity of samples tested for variants. This meant that variants were detected among many more people.
Local control measures such as contact tracing could therefore happen more rapidly, they said, adding
Genotyping can be applied to finding variants in a wide range of organisms in humans and animals—so it has huge potential for guiding public health decision-making and disease control globally in the future.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which in its Season 10 is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Ayushmann Khurrana. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In a world post COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental well-being, self-care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.