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Small Published the Findings of Nanopore Targeted Sequencing for Detecting COVID-19 by Liu Tiangang's and Li Yan's Team
2020-07-09 17:56:51 来源:武汉大学医学部 点击数:

Author: Yao Yuan

Translated by: Zhu Tong, Wu Xia

On June 24, Small published online the latest research findings of nanopore targeted sequencing for detecting COVID-19 led by Professor Liu Tiangang from the School of Pharmaceutic Sciences of Wuhan University and Professor Li Yan from the clinical laboratory department of Renmin Hospital of WHU.

The article is entitled Nanopore Targeted Sequencing for the Accurate and Comprehensive Detection of SARS-COV-2 and Other Respiratory Viruses. Wuhan University is the first undersigned unit. Prof. Liu Tiangang, Prof. Li Yan and Prof. Wei Wu (Shanghai Institute of Nutrition and Health, CAS) are the corresponding authors of the article, and six co-first authors are Wang Ming, Tong Yongqing (both from the clinical laboratory department of Renmin Hospital of WHU), Fu Aisi, Hu Ben, and Liu Ran (all from the School of Pharmaceutic Sciences, WHU) and Liu Zhen (Shanghai Institute of Nutrition and Health, CAS). This research is greatly supported by Hubei Provincial Emergency Research Project on COVID-19, COVID-19 prevention and control fund of Wuhan University, Wuhan Dgensee Clinical Laboratory, National Key Research and Development Plan and National Natural Science Foundation of China, and Renmin Hospital of WHU.


The article appears at the cover of the journal

The global outbreak of COVID-19 has impaired public health and economic development, and the prior tasks of COVID-19 prevention and control are the early detection, isolation and treatment of suspected patients. In the early phase of the coronavirus outbreak, medical researchers rapidly developed RT-qPCR detection kit for nucleic acid detection. However, the RT-qPCR detection appeared a high false-negative rate, leading to frequent false-negative detection in highly suspicious patients with COVID-19 infection. In addition, RT-qPCR nucleic acid detection cannot simultaneously detect other respiratory viruses with high incidence in autumn and winter, whose symptoms are similar to COVID-19, posing great challenges to the epidemic prevention and control and patient triage management.

To solve this problem, Professor Liu Tiangang (School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, WHU) and Professor Li Yan, Professor Yu Lilei (Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University) and Wuhan Dgensee Clinical Laboratory rapidly cooperated to develop Nanopore Targeted Sequencing (NTS) detection method. This method combines the advantages of targeted amplification of virus, long reading length of nanopore sequencing and real-time data output to realize the simultaneous detection of SARS-CoV-2 and other more than 40 kinds of respiratory viruses in 10 categories with high sensitivity and accuracy within 6-10 hours for the first time. Meanwhile, NTS detection method can realize COVID-19 genomic variation testing, virus mutation monitoring and virus classification.


NTS is superior to RT-qPCR, like casting a net to capture the virus nucleic acid so that the detection is improved with more sensitivity and accuracy. In addition, the nanopore sequencing can capture the viral nucleic acid while reading its sequence, which is the fastest sequencing technology at present. Moreover, NTS can diagnose COVID-19 infection and simultaneously test other respiratory viruses to provide doctors a precise reference of triage. More importantly, NTS method can also detect the mutation of virulence related genes during the transmission of the virus, so as to quickly provide information for later epidemiological analysis. Besides, NTS can also classify the viruses to provide guidance for the diagnosis and treatment of clinical patients.


The united research team of Wuhan University began to develop NTS method in January 2020, and it was tested in early February. The research findings were published online on medRxiv on March 7, 2020, attracting wide attention of various countries once released. Scientists from the United States, South Korea and other countries have emailed to consult this technology, hoping to carry out NTS detection in their local areas. Wuhan University research team actively shared the experimental details of the technology to help other countries promote the epidemic prevention and control.


With scientific and technological innovation, the clinical laboratory department of Renmin Hospital of WHU has become the medical unit offering the largest amount of nucleic acid detection for COVID-19, setting a significant example in the whole province in terms of standardized and safe detection of clinical samples. It also provide strong supports in the intellectual, scientific and technological aspects for winning the battle of pandemic prevention and control. From scientific research to clinical practice, this united team based on multiple disciplines has made the COVID-19 prevention and control more powerful, contributing as a reassuring force to the victory of the coronavirus battle.

Link to the article