Genetic sequencing could be key to containing future COVID-19 variant outbreaks

Oct. 11, 2022
Study shows travel bans, relying on estimates of disease severity are largely ineffective at containing COVID-19 variants at source.

New COVID-19 variants could potentially be contained where they arise using genetic sequencing, a new study from the University of Georgia has found. But it will require global cooperation.

Published in PNAS Nexus, the study found that standard methods that first assess a new variant’s severity are too slow to stop its spread. Next-generation genetic sequencing, however, offers a feasible alternative to spot new variants with enough time to contain variants where they first appear. 

Genetic sequencing is a process by which researchers can determine the genetic makeup of an organism.  In the case of COVID-19, some new variants, particularly the more concerning ones, have distinct differences in their genetic code. That means researchers can use genetic codes to detect new troubling variants.

University of Georgia release