Ministry of Science articulated network of universities to “enhance and increase” genomic sequencing

The Ministry of Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation articulated a network of universities from Antofagasta to Punta Arenas to increase the national capacity for genomic sequencing of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, and thus identify the variants that circulate in the country, a work that is currently being carried out by the Institute of Public Health.

The ISP can process about 200 weekly samples, figure that could be doubled with the collaboration of these laboratories and the support of the study houses, according to the portfolio.

“We will can enhance variant tracking and increase analysis which already adds (in total) about 3,000 SARS-CoV-2 sequences that have been shared internationally in Gisaid, a freely accessible database of data, “said the minister. Andres Couve.

He anticipated that “the first group that starts this work is led by the Development University together with the Andrés Bello University and scientific teams from the Austral University, which we visited in Valdivia last week “.

The work of the first group of six universities in total with immediate capacity to sequence, will be strengthened with the contribution of private companies that allowed the acquisition of supplies and reagents necessary to carry out the analysis of samples.

“In addition, another group led by the Catholic University, Next to the University of Antofagasta and the University of Magallanes They also activated this work that allows genomic analysis in different regions, “Couve added.

He also stressed that this network “has the commitment of scientific teams and support from the private sector with 500 thousand dollars, which allows us to accelerate and complement the work of the ISP, enhancing the monitoring of variants and deconcentrating the analysis in different regions of the country. “

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In a first preliminary stage, the sequences of 10 viral samples will be sent to the ISP for validation, which should certify the good quality of the technique used and thus allow the institutions to start sequencing in a sustained and systematic way.

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