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September 29, 2020

Smartphone app used to analyse coronavirus genome

By Chloe Kent

A new mobile app has made it possible to analyse the genome of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, on a smartphone in less than half an hour.

Genopo, developed by the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, in collaboration with the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka, is designed to make genomics more accessible in resource-limited settings.

The app was tested using raw sequencing data of viral RNA swab samples from nine patients with Covid-19. It took an average of 27 minutes to determine the complete SARS-CoV-2 genome sequence from the raw data, which opens the possibility of doing genomic analysis at the point of care, in real time.

Garvan’s Kinghorn Centre for Clinical Genomics head Dr Ira Deveson said: “Not everyone has access to the high-power computing resources that are required for DNA and RNA analysis, but most people have access to a smartphone.

“Fast, real-time genomic analysis is more crucial today than ever, as a central method for tracking the spread of coronavirus. Our app makes genomic analysis more accessible, literally placing the technology into the pockets of scientists around the world.”

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