Qiagen has launched a viral genome enrichment and library preparation solution, QIAseq DIRECT SARS-CoV-2 Kit, which reduces library turnaround times and plasticware usage.

The solution supports sample multiplexing with up to 768 Dual Molecular Indices in a library preparation workflow from extracted viral RNA that lowers turnaround time to four hours.

This aids in analysing more than 6,000 samples simultaneously on the highest-throughput sequencers.

Furthermore, the kit can be automated with robotic liquid handlers, helps to reduce plastic usage by 50% and hands-on time, and does not require fragmentation or ligation reactions.

When compared with commonly used amplicon-based options, this solution’s viral enrichment method offers greater uniformity of coverage across the SARS-CoV-2 genome as well as excellent sequencing performance.

QIAGEN business area life sciences senior vice-president Thomas Schweins said: “QIAseq DIRECT SARS-CoV-2 is a powerful solution that will increase the efficiency and output of NGS at a time when global expectations to perform could not be higher.

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“This kit is an important extension of our QIAseq range, that allows for more accurate detection and quantification of molecular variants, while drastically reducing the time and workflow steps needed for library preparation, increasing lab efficiency and throughput.”

The QIAseq DIRECT SARS-CoV-2 kit can be integrated with the new QIAGEN Digital Insights CoV-2 Insights Service, a Cloud-based solution for analysing, characterising and reporting on viral genomes. This will facilitate variant detection and reporting, including clade and lineage annotations across sequencing platforms.

At present, the lab and bioinformatic ARTIC project protocols are regarded as the gold standard in next-generation sequencing (NGS) based characterisation of SARS-CoV-2 genomes.

In March, the US Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization (EUA) to QIAGEN’s NeuMoDx Flu A-B/RSV/SARS-CoV-2 Vantage Assay.