Covid: variant sequencing capacity soon to be doubled up in France?

Published by Laurent P. · Published on 27 April 2021 at 11h55 · Updated on 27 April 2021 at 15h19
Is Covid variant sequencing capacity soon to be doubled up in France? This is what Biogroup director-general president Stéphane Eimer announced on Monday April 26, 2021. A doubled capacity made possible thanks to a “partnership” with public and private sectors.

Detecting Covid variants through sequencing soon to be more and more possible… This is – in a nutshell – what Biogroup CEO Stéphane Eimer said – leading analysis laboratory – to our peers from Franceinfo this Monday April 26. The latter explained “doublingsequencing to detect the different strains of coronavirus will be conducted especially thanks to a “partnership” between laboratories from the public and private sectors the “Health Minister is to approve of” in the coming days.

Until now, sole national centers of reference and specialized public hospital laboratories were allowed to sequence”, he said, representing a total of 5,000 sequencings per week. Not enough at all to track the evolution of the variants in the country. With the support of private laboratories, this number could double up, reaching 10,000 sequencings per week. “This is what would enable to monitor the outbreak of a new variant. And this is what matters”, he adds.

And these measures start to pay off! The virus has “evolved a lot at the beginning of this year, and now, we’ve reached a plateau. There are 300,000 screen tests per day, with a 9.65% positivity, which is still a high rate. As for variants, they have improved a lot”, Eimer goes on. He adds: “The UK variant reaches about 90%, and the South African and Brazilian variants (…) are more around 6%”.

As for the Indian variant, “today, it can only be detectable through sequencing”, he explains, underlying “we’re to start sequencing it in partnership with national centers of reference and specialized public hospital laboratories to map the spread of this Indian variant”. This is good news to help and overcome the epidemic.

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