Coronavirus genome now analyzed by mobile app in minutes

Coronavirus genome can now be analyzed by a mobile app everywhere by medical workers, say researchers.

Our world has never been like this in decades. A virus changed the way we lived entirely and affected us seriously. Scientists and researchers are struggling to find a cure for the virus worldwide. Doctors are fighting with the virus and trying to save the sick ones from it. Due to the enigmatic nature of the Coronavirus, treatment for it is becoming perplexing and challenging. Because of the efforts of humanity, vaccine developments are taking place in many countries.

Researchers have now created a mobile app to analyze the Coronavirus genome in minutes, which will help healthcare development in rural and inaccessible regions. If a scientist wanted to study a genomic sequence of a virus, it would require high computing power and machines. But now, because of researchers’ efforts, this app helps doctors and researchers analyze and determine the genome of Coronavirus. Garvan Institute of Medical Research and the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka made this impossible feat achievable.

“Genopo” – an innovation

The study about the app is published in Communications Biology, a peer-reviewed biological sciences journal. The journal published a paper from Dr. Ira Deveson and his colleagues of Garvan Institute of Medical Sciences, Darlinghurst, Australia. Dr. Deveson is the head of Kinghorn Centre for Clinical Genomics.

“Not everyone has access to the high-power computing resources for DNA and RNA analysis, but most people have access to a smartphone,” Dr. Deveson stated about the app. He also added that now is the period for the need of fast genomic analysis for all. Because of the Genopo app, now scientists and doctors can analyze genomic sequences in mobile phones.

The scientists obtained nine samples from SARS CoV-2 infected patients in Sydney and tested the app for functionality. The app analyzed the genomic sequence in 27 minutes and is a success. The researchers tested their apps on various devices such as Nokia, LG, Sony, and Huawei.

How to use it?

With the help of portable devices such as the Oxford Nanopore Technologies MinION sequencer, the app can analyze the genome and help the researchers. Researchers used this device in Ebola containment in West Africa and microbes profiling in the Arctic.

Hasindu Gamaarachchi, Genomics Computing Systems Engineer at the Garvan Institute, said that Genopo combined numerous available bioinformatics tools into a single Android application and miniaturized them to work in a smartphone optimally. This app can also be used to profile DNA methylation—a modification that changes gene activity—in a sample of the human genome.

Genopo is undoubtedly a gift to humankind by these researchers in this war against Coronavirus. Currently, Genopo is available as a free to download open source application in Google Playstore.

Image courtesy of Sandra Carmona/Shutterstock

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