A Mars Bar-sized device is helping Kiwi scientists speedily unravel the genetic jigsaw of the virus driving the Covid-19 crisis – part of an urgent global effort that could help create a vaccine.
ESR has one of three New Zealand labs now running diagnostic testing on Covid-19 samples, to detect the presence of the virus SARS-CoV-2.
That’s done by searching for small parts of the virus genome – or its genetic make-up – within the samples they’re sent.
But ESR scientists have begun going further by sequencing the entire genomes of the samples, rather than just part of them – something that could reveal much more about how the virus is behaving.
“Different parts of the DNA change at different rates – and analysing the complete genome allows us to get the most accurate picture of the changes that happen,” ESR’s Dr Joep de Ligt told the Herald.