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COVID-19: rapid sequencing tests

professor Andrew Beggs discusses how he and a team of experts are using whole genome sequencing to develop a rapid RNA sequencing test for COVID-19.

As we’ve learned, genomic sequencing is a really important tool in the management of infectious disease outbreaks – including the current COVID-19 pandemic.

In this film, professor Andrew Beggs from the University of Birmingham describes how he and a team of experts have put whole genome sequencing to use during the pandemic.

Professor Beggs discusses the development of a rapid-turnaround test for COVID-19, exploring the advantages that genomic sequencing of the virus has over the testing method being used currently. He explains that:

  • while testing without sequencing gives a ‘yes or no answer’, sequencing allows us to obtain a more detailed picture: how it may have been introduced and how it has spread through a group of people; and
  • crucially, it is possible for these highly-sensitive tests to detect COVID-19 in individuals before they are symptomatic, which could revolutionise our management of the disease, particularly in high-risk environments such as hospitals, care homes, schools, universities and factories.

Andrew also emphasises what a huge team effort, both nationally and internationally, the management of COVID-19 has been and will continue to be.

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Whole Genome Sequencing: Decoding the Language of Life and Health

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