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Human Genome Variation Research Group took the lead on COVID-19 testing at the Jagiellonian University

Human Genome Variation Research Group took the lead on COVID-19 testing at the Jagiellonian University

Human Genome Variation Research Group and Genomic Core Facility MCB are actively helping an ongoing fight against SARS-CoV-2 epidemic. As one of the seven laboratories in Malopolska region, they support Sanepid in testing samples taken from potentially infected individuals.

The method used for testing

The HGVR Group member says about the project: "To this end, we take advantage of our lab’s equipment - we utilize the Tecan robotic workstation to carry out the extraction of virus RNA from the patients’ samples safely and robustly. For the detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, we use a real-time PCR method, which is a gold standard due to its high sensitivity and specificity. We would like to thank for the help of the Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Biotechnology, Faculty of Biology and the Medical College of the Jagiellonian University. We received support in the administration and IT, as well as from volunteers to carry out the tests and authorize results (special thanks to Dr. Danuta Piniewska-Róg). In addition, we received important equipment support from the Departments and JCI."

Figure 1:  Graphical representation of real-time PCR results for three targets in four representative samples.  Each colour represents a specific viral gene or internal control (green- ORF1a, blue- N gene and red- internal control). The top plot shows two persons who are not infected and the bottom plot shows infections.  Infection is when two or more genes are amplified and show a Ct value less than 40. For all samples, the Ct value for internal control should be less than 26.

Other projects

Apart from our diagnostic efforts, prof. Wojciech Branicki's Group is also involved in the testing of environmental samples collected by local authorities, in order to monitor the presence of the virus in public spaces. They also perform next-generation sequencing of the virus genomes for research purposes. Together with the Virogenetics and Bioinformatics groups, researchers hope to find some clues that will aid in quenching the epidemic and avoiding its recurrence in the future.