Donations from Tetra Laval and Chiesi Pharma behind new technology to find coronavirus variants

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have now developed a cost-effective technology for surveillance of the global spread of new SARS-CoV-2 variants. The technique is presented in the scientific journal Nature Communications. The research was supported by private donations from Tetra Laval-gruppen and Chiesi Pharma AB and presented in a press release on June 23rd.

Nicola Crosetto vid Institutionen för medicinsk biokemi och biofysik
Nicola Crosetto, researcher at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics. Photo: Stefan Zimmerman

Since the onset of the pandemic, thousands of viral genomes have been sequenced to reconstruct the evolution and global spread of the coronavirus. This is important for the identification of particularly concerning variants that are more contagious, pathogenic, or resistant to the existing vaccines.

For global surveillance of the SARS-CoV-2 genome, it is crucial to sequence and analyse many samples in a cost-effective way. Therefore researchers in the Bienko-Crosetto laboratory at Karolinska Institutet and Science for Life Laboratory (SciLifeLab) in Sweden have developed a new method, named COVseq, that can be used for surveillance of the viral genome on a massive scale at a low cost.

“Our inexpensive method could immediately be used for SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance by public health agencies and could also be easily adapted to other RNA viruses, such as influenza and dengue viruses,” says Nicola Crosetto, senior researcher at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, Karolinska Institutet, and last author of the paper.

The study has been supported by private donations from Tetra Laval-group and Chiesi Pharama AB. Karolinska Institutet would like to thank both Tetra Laval-group and Chiesi Pharma for their engagement and generous support. Without private external support and contributions many research projects during the pandemic could not kept on going or even start. 

The research was also supported by grants from the SciLifeLab National COVID-19 Research Program, financed by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, and grants from the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research.

The results of the study was announced on June 23rd in a press release "Low-cost method for finding new coronavirus variants" which is linked down below.