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The Irish Coronavirus Sequencing Consortium November 2021

The Irish Coronavirus Sequencing Consortium, funded by Science Foundation Ireland is led by Professor Paul Cotter, Teagasc Moorepark. The aim of the project is to sequence or “read” the genetic information of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Teagasc researchers explain more in this video

Photo above: Dr. Fiona Crispie, researcher at Teagasc Moorepark, loading samples on the Oxford Nanopore MinION

Teagasc-Led National Consortium

Science Foundation Ireland has funded a national consortium led by the Teagasc/APC Microbiome Ireland Sequencing Centre at Moorepark working alongside partners at Teagasc research centres at Grange and Oak Park, University College Cork, Cork University Hospital, the National Virus Reference Laboratory, University College Dublin, University Hospital Limerick, Beaumont hospital, Trinity College Dublin, NUI Galway and NUI Maynooth. Two private companies, Genuity Ireland and Helixworks are also supporting the initiative.

The Sequencing work

This consortium will sequence the RNA of viruses isolated from samples of patients who have lab-confirmed infections of COVID-19 and make the sequence information freely available for analysis. The consortium will specifically select the virus sequences from the patient samples, and detect those tiny fragments through the use of the latest sequencing technology from Oxford Nanopore. The sequences of the DNA fragments are “read” as changes in current when they pass through pores in the instrumentation. These fragments are assembled, like a jigsaw, using specific computing programmes to generate the full picture of the sequence of the virus, or genome. This genome can then be compared to samples sequenced from Ireland an internationally to track the spread of the virus and investigate the mutation rate as it spreads around the globe.

Dr. Fiona Crispie & Dr. John Kenny, Teagasc Researchers, explain in the video below, that this project will allow them to track the spread of the Covid-19 virus and any changes in its genetic sequence which may affect the disease or treatment. 

If you found this article interesting you might also like:

7th October 2020 Public Webinar:  "The Irish Coronavirus Sequencing Consortium: What We're Doing and Why?". The full webinar can be viewed on YouTube and the Q and A can be downloaded as a pdf [ICSC webinar Q and A].

30th July 2020 Irish Examiner: "Covid-19: Teagasc to do DNA sequencing to identify strains of the virus found here"

29th April 2020 Teagasc Press Release: "Irish Coronavirus Sequencing Consortium- Tracking the genetics of the Covid-19 virus in Ireland"

See more from Teagasc  including patient information leaflets on Irish Coronavirus Sequencing Consortium