Integrated DNA Technologies (IDT), a leading comprehensive genomics solutions provider, has developed new Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) tools to assist researchers in tracking and understanding the spread of COVID-19. The Company is also establishing partnerships to increase access to NGS tools and make them more cost-effective. Widely recognized as the industry leader in DNA writing, IDT was the first company in the United States to have its primer and probe kits approved by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for use in the CDC EUA testing protocol for COVID-19. The Company’s support of efforts to facilitate detection, research, and vaccine development to combat the SARS-CoV-2 virus are now expanded by the availability of new NGS tools.
Understanding how the SARS-CoV-2 virus is spreading and evolving in the population is critical for determining preventative measures, as well as for developing potential vaccines or therapies. RNA viruses like SARS-CoV-2 acquire mutational changes as they transmit from patient to patient. Sequencing the viral genome using NGS tools is a powerful method for detecting the mutations that arise as the virus spreads.
“Targeted NGS using IDT’s solutions enables very sensitive and accurate assays that allow researchers to monitor virus evolution, infection progression, and immune response,” said IDT President Trey Martin. “IDT’s targeted NGS solutions feature high performance and reproducibility, fast turnaround time, and endless customization and scalability. Our partnerships with world-class researchers give IDT the opportunity to play an even greater part in helping to quell the coronavirus pandemic.”
Hybridization capture and amplicon sequencing are NGS techniques being used to fight SARS‑CoV‑2, and IDT partners are utilizing these methods for novel SARS-CoV-2 research. These partners include New York University (NYU) Langone, the ARTIC network, and the McDonnell Genome Institute (MGI) at Washington University.
NYU Langone, one of the nation’s premier academic medical centers conducting breakthrough scientific research, is using a SARS-CoV-2 capture panel to sequence the viral genome from patient samples. xGen™ hybridization capture from IDT is a targeted NGS method that uses long, biotinylated oligonucleotide probes, also known as “baits,” to hybridize regions of interest in the samples.
“DNA baits are essential to our work, helping us capture human exome sequences and other specific targeted areas of the human genome,” said Andriana Heguy, PhD, Director of the Genome Technology Center at NYU Langone. “From the beginning as we were designing the library prep and sequencing strategy for the SARS-CoV-2 viral genome sequencing, we sought to use specific baits to fish out this viral genome from our patient samples. IDT has been an invaluable partner in this research effort to ‘capture’ this viral genome, accelerating our sequencing efforts and making them more cost-effective.”
The ARTIC network, a collaborative project in the United Kingdom, has provided a detailed protocol to quickly and accurately sequence SARS-CoV-2. The protocol features a set of primers for amplicon sequencing, a type of targeted NGS that uses PCR to copy sequences of DNA called amplicons. IDT has partnered with ARTIC to produce a bulk set of these primers, the ARTIC nCoV-2019 V3 Panel. By doing so, IDT ensures availability of the primers and reproducibility, giving researchers confidence in finding consistent results.
“The ARTIC network is delighted to be partnering with IDT to produce primer pools for SARS-CoV-2 genome sequencing,” said Dr. Joshua Quick, Institute of Microbiology and Infection, University of Birmingham. “The ARTIC nCoV-2019 amplicon sequencing protocol has been widely adopted across the world, and the genome data is critical to understanding and tracking the outbreak. Our mission is to put genomics at the heart of outbreak response, and having this resource available will help more groups establish genome sequencing capabilities in their own labs in a cost-effective and reproducible way.”
IDT’s partnership with MGI at Washington University in St. Louis (WashU) through the IDT Align℠ Preferred Partner Program, continues to benefit researchers and play a critical role in projects to combat the virus. MGI’s expertise in genomics services, including sequencing and bioinformatics, combined with IDT’s high quality, reproducible, and flexible products, open up NGS to researchers who otherwise would not have access to facilities for large-scale genomics projects. MGI has multiple sequencing platforms, and with their highly-efficient and scalable research pipeline, they can provide sequencing and preparation services for researchers.
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