Next generation sequencing (NGS) may play a crucial role in understanding and fighting novel viruses such as COVID-19.
“We can use NGS, which detects all viruses in a given sample from a patient, to make certain our current tests are working correctly to identify the COVID-19 virus,” said Dirk Dittmer, Ph.D., professor of microbiology and immunology, director of the UNC Viral Genomics Core and member of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Through NGS, researchers at Carolina have the ability to decode the DNA of present viruses, which provides insight regarding how old the virus is, where it came from and if it is mutating. This information is extremely valuable in assessing viruses and could help make significant strides in ensuring accuracy in COVID-19 research.
“It’s like taking a fingerprint of the virus,” Dittmer said. “It allows us to explore a sample and take a deeper look at what we find. It could help us learn many things, including why some people get sick from the virus and others do not.”