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21st January 2021  Product update: rapidvirology staff writer

Fast Analysis of SARS-CoV-2 Mutations by Specific Sequencing

The rapid spread of the newly emerging SARS-CoV-2 virus variant B.1.1.7 in Great Britain and other countries shows how changes in the genome can lead to new biological properties.

Most of the mutations (12,000 approx.) in the genome of the SARS-CoV-2 virus did not change the biological properties of the virus. However, some of the almost 4,000 mutations that have been identified in the spike protein (S-Protein) have affected its infectivity, disease progression and immunogenicity properties.

In spring 2020, the emergence of the D614G mutation in the S-Protein led to an increase in the infectivity of this new SARS-CoV-2 mutant strain and has almost entirely replaced the Wuhan strain worldwide.

The mutation A222V in the Spanish strain (20A.EU1), led again to an increase in infectivity and started to replace the D614G strain in Europe in the summer of 2020. The mutation N501Y-del69-70 in B.1.1.7 in Great Britain, which was detected for the first time in November 2020, once again led to an increase in infectivity.

Since then, reinfections have also increased with the appearance of these new virus strains. With the appearance of B.1.1.7, the effectiveness of the vaccines was questioned and is now being investigated.

Therefore, it is increasingly important to contain and manage the infection progress not only by detection of a SARS-CoV-2 infection, e.g. by PCR, but also to carry out a genetic analysis of the infecting strain.

Currently, genetic analysis of SARS-CoV-2 is based on the Amplicon method. The genome part responsible for infectivity, disease progression and immunogenicity is dissected into small sections and subsequently sequenced. Mutations and thus possible new virus variants are determined using mathematical methods.

In contrast, baseclick has developed a new and more efficient process to determine not only predominant mutations but also minor occurring mutations in a virus population which might eventually become new strains.

baseclick CEO Dr Thomas Frischmuth: "It is good news that baseclick has now developed a highly efficient analysis method to analyse SARS-CoV-2 mutations since the increased occurrence of new SARS-CoV-2 virus strains. With our sequencing kit, the genome section responsible for infectivity, disease progression and immunogenicity is directly analysed, and mutations can be assigned directly without any intermediate mathematical steps."

The "Click Tech Single Strain Mutation Mapping Kit for Sars-Co-V2" developed by baseclick GmbH, allows an exact genomic assignment and assessment of the frequency of newly emerging virus variants in the population.

With the analysis method, it is also possible to identify all SARS-CoV-2 mutations within a COVID-19 patient, including those over the course of the disease.



Date Published: 21st January 2021

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Note: This content has been edited by a rapidvirology.com staff writer for style and content.

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