Sequence Analysis Helps Trace COVID-19 Infections

Kári Stefánsson, CEO of deCode Genetics, at yesterday's meeting.

Kári Stefánsson, CEO of deCode Genetics, at yesterday's meeting. mbl.is/Eggert Jóhannesson

Vala Hafstað

Sequence analysis has proven an essential tool to help trace COVID-19 infections in society.

An informative meeting was held yesterday by deCode Genetics do discuss the results of several studies. Mbl.is interviewed  the company’s CEO, Kári Stefánsson, following the meeting.

Kári explains the essential role sequence analysis has played in tracing infections in Iceland, and that deCode Genetics has in essence established a criteria that can be used for tracing infections in general.

He states that deCode Genetics has done sequence analysis of samples from every person infected with COVID-19 in Iceland, enabling scientists to trace how the virus has spread.

Kári Stefánsson.

Kári Stefánsson. mbl.is/Eggert Jóhannesson

“Presently, we can almost precisely tell who infected whom and which people were infected by the same individual,” he states. “We can call it a group infection if everyone has caught the same variant of the virus.”

To illustrate this, he notes that if Peter and John have been infected and scientists are trying to find out whether Peter infected John or vice versa, then sequence analysis gives them the answer: “If Peter has one additional mutation to what we find in John, then it is clear that John has infected Peter. There is a very simple logic to it.”

Kári admits that researching the coronavirus has been very rewarding.

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