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Genetic sequencing could be used to detect new variants of COVID-19, a new UGA study suggests

Alissa Eckert, Dan Higgins

Findings from a new study from the University of Georgia suggests that genetic sequencing, a process by which researchers identify the genetic makeup of an organism, could be used to contain new COVID-19 variants.

Because many variants have distinct differences in their genetic code, researchers can use genetic sequencing to detect new, potentially troubling variants. At the right scale, this could restrict the spread of new COVID-19 variants more successfully than standard methods like travel bans.

The study stresses that this effort requires international cooperation. According to Tobias Brett, the lead author of the study and a postdoctoral researcher in the Odum School of Ecology, “Containment efforts need to be coordinated, and they need to be well designed because variants are not going away.”