Laboratory Sequencing Training for SARS-CoV-2 Genome Analysis Successfully Conducted in São Tomé

In July 2021, the SToP-CoV team, together with partners from the Laboratório Nacional de Referência da Tuberculose (LNR-TB) in São Tomé, conducted a training on the nanopore genome sequencing technology at the COVID-19 National Reference Laboratory. The laboratory team is now able to perform bioinformatic data analysis to identify genetic variants of the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen.

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Participants of the whole genome sequencing training with Kathrin Schuldt and Doris Winter from BNITM. (Source: BNITM)

In July 2021, 12 laboratory experts received a two-week theoretical and practical introduction to nanopore sequencing. Participants of the training were laboratory experts from the National Reference Laboratory for COVID-19 Laboratório Nacional de Referência da Tuberculose (LNR-TB), part of the Ministry of Health, and experts from the National Laboratory for Animal Health, and the Centro de Investigação Agronómica e Tecnológica (CIAT), part of the Ministry for Agriculture.

The training consisted of practical and theoretical training modules. Among others, the theoretical background of nanopore sequencing technology, preparation of infectious SARS-CoV-2 samples in the laboratory, analysis of samples using the MinION sequencer and the subsequent bioinformatic data analysis of sequencing data were trained. In addition, the development of standardized laboratory protocols and steps for implementing genomic surveillance were covered.

Theoretical introduction into whole genome sequencing technology. (Source: BNITM)

Upon successful completion of the training, participants were empowered to perform the sequencing technology independently. As a result, currently circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants in São Tomé, as well as emerging genetic viral variants, can be identified and shared with the national authorities and the international research community. During the training, a press release by the Ministry of Health was made informing the population of the presence of the highly transmissible delta variant of the virus in São Tomé, which was identified by sequencing at LNR-TB.

Applying a sample onto the sequencing device. (Source: BNITM)

Last update: September 2021

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