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29 Oct 2020
An enemy shrouded by darkness
"A pneumonia of an unknown cause"
The study focused on a 41-year-old patient admitted to the Central Hospital of Wuhan on December 26, 2019, with symptoms including fever, chest tightness, cough, pain, and weakness, along with lung abnormalities—all indicative of pneumonia, cause unknown. On January 5, 2020, next-generation meta-transcriptomic sequencing analysis performed on the patient’s bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) enabled the researchers to obtain a complete viral genome of the unknown pathogen. Subsequent analysis identified the virus as belonging to a family of SARS-like viruses, Coronaviridae. These analyses were made possible in part by kits and reagents produced by Takara Bio: an RNA library was constructed from the total RNA collected from the patient’s BALF sample using the SMARTer Stranded Total RNA-Seq Kit v2 - Pico Input Mammalian, the viral genome sequence was determined and confirmed by real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) via the One Step PrimeScript RT-PCR Kit (Perfect Real Time), and genome termini were studied by 5′/3′ rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) using the SMARTer RACE 5′/3′ kit. This result was immediately reported to the relevant authorities, and an annotated version of the genome sequence (strain Wuhan-Hu-1) was submitted to NCBI/GenBank on the same day.
Since this study, laboratories around the world have been generating viral genome sequence data with unprecedented speed. At the time of writing this, there are nearly 60,000 SARS-CoV-2 genomes publicly available. Research efforts that help to update public viral genome sequence databases—such as the study conducted by Wu et al.—are important as they are used to inform international preparedness and response to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Takara Bio’s kits, reagents, instruments, and services help to identify and characterize previously unknown pathogens by allowing researchers to explore important questions about viral gene discovery, regulation, and function. Our broad NGS portfolio provides unmatched sensitivity and reproducibility for demanding sequencing applications—regardless of sample type or input amount—therefore facilitating the rapid development of diagnostic tests and identifying potential medical intervention options including treatments and vaccines.
Seeing the light
Wu, F. et al. A new coronavirus associated with human respiratory disease in China. Nature 579, 265–269 (2020).
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