Log in
A+ A A-

New methodology for detection of SARS-CoV-2 mutations by Athens University

Featured New methodology for detection of SARS-CoV-2 mutations by Athens University

A new molecular methodology for sensitive detection and quantification of mutant strains / variants of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater samples using a range of molecular methods, including Next Generation Sequencing / NGS, has been developed by the Kapodistrian University of Athens (EKPA), through the cooperation of research units, in the framework of a program supervised by Professor Andreas Skorilas.

The relevant article is entitled "Novel Nested-Seq Approach for SARS-CoV-2 Real-time Epidemiology and In-depth Mutational Profiling in Wastewater" and is signed by researchers Margaritis Avgeris, Panagiotis Adamopoulos, Aikaterini Galani, Marieta Xagorari, Dimitrios Gourgiotis, Ioannis Trougakos, Nikolaos Voulgaris, Thanos Dimopoulos (rector of EKPA), Nikolaos Thomaidis and Andreas Skorilas.

The article was accepted for publication in the prestigious international scientific journal "International Journal of Molecular Sciences", while an application for a National and International Patent has been submitted by EKPA.

This is a very important success, as it concerns the development of a new hypersensitive molecular methodology for the identification of mutations in "difficult samples", at the international level. The research, during the peer review, was judged by several anonymous international judges, who assessed the methodological process, the importance and the originality.

The study of SARS-CoV-2 levels and mutant strains in urban wastewater and structures represents an innovative and cost-effective approach to establishing a SARS-CoV-2 epidemiology surveillance system at local and national level. This hypersensitive methodology, which can produce results even in 50ml of sample, is particularly important because it shows the presence and percentage of mutants in the total population of a city or a tourist structure. This methodology meets the requirements of the relevant recommendation of 15-3-2021 of the European Commission for the common approach in establishing systematic monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants in wastewater. In addition, it detects in time new variants that are just beginning to enter the population.

The first results of application of the method are in line with the corresponding subsequent clinical data in patient samples of the population, supporting the utilization of control of SARS-CoV-2 strains in urban or other structure effluents as a main and timely indicator of the spread of new variants. of the virus in the population and consequently the taking of targeted decisions to address COVID-19.

The new method facilitates the genomic surveillance of new SARS-CoV-2 strains and, with appropriate modification, other viruses or bacteria, providing the information needed for epidemiological surveillance as well as the redesign of new vaccines and drug protocols.