Coronavirus, in the laboratory in Rome: ‘From swab to DNA thanks to technology: this is how we find the variants’

We start with a now classic molecular buffer. In case of positivity to Sars-cov-2, it goes through several phases that culminate with the gene sequencing of that particular case. So, by analyzing the different mutations, it is possible to trace which variant of Covid the virus in question belongs to. This is the work that is usually carried out at the research institute of the Altamedica clinic in Rome. “Of all the recently sequenced samples, more than 90% belong to the Delta variant (the so-called Indian, ed). The Alpha variant (that is, the English one, ed), which was predominant up to two months , it has practically disappeared “, explains geneticist Marco Fabiani. A process that currently requires at least two days of work and a huge investment of resources. For this reason, the researchers of the center have developed an alternative methodology that seeks only the distinctive features of the variants already known. “In this way we reduce the analysis times from two days to just over two hours – adds Fabiani -. We think it is particularly useful in the variant tracking phases. It is useless to have the data after ten days because to limit their circulation it is good to have them as soon as possible “.

Di Francesco Giovannetti

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