The rise of increasingly transmissible variants of SARS-CoV-2 has spurred growing interest in harnessing information about the genetic sequences of these variants to help treat patients.
A new joint consensus review from the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the American Society for Microbiology outlines the potential role of SARS-CoV-2 sequencing in clinical care and the challenges in implementing this process in laboratories. The review is published in Clinical Infectious Diseases and the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.
“Although clinical uses of SARS-CoV-2 sequencing are currently limited, rapidly changing technology and the ability to interpret variants in near real-time suggests a growing role for SARS-CoV-2 genotyping in caring for patients as data emerge on vaccine and therapeutic efficacy,” said Francesca M. Lee, MD, an author of the review and a member of IDSA’s Diagnostic Committee.
With more than 2 million SARS-CoV-2 genomes sequenced so far during the pandemic, this testing has provided critical information about the lineages and evolution of the virus that has supported the public health response. The new review, according to an IDSA press release.
It describes several potential clinical applications of this testing process, including for screening immunocompromised COVID-19 patients being considered for monoclonal antibody therapy and for infection prevention efforts in healthcare facilities using whole genome sequencing.