Illumina makes SARS-CoV-2 NGS toolkit free of charge

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

April 17, 2020 -- Illumina is making its SARS-CoV-2 data toolkit, a suite of data analysis tools and workflow functionality, free for researchers researching the virus using next-generation sequencing (NGS).

The toolkit integrates Illumina's 15,000 sequencing systems to help researchers understand and track the COVID-19 pandemic, understand transmission routes, determine the rate of viral evolution, and understand if the virus is changing in ways that impact therapeutic effectiveness. Moreover, the connectivity of the platform allows researchers and public health officials to seamlessly share information.

A new functionality, DRAGEN, is being released as part of the SARS-CoV-2 data toolkit, according to the company. DRAGEN will accelerate infectious disease surveillance and outbreak response with RNA pathogen detection pipeline and metagenomic pipeline capabilities. The tool also includes a sequence read archive (SRA) import app as well as a Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID) sharing app.

The toolkit is compatible with other Illumina workflows, including the respiratory virus target enrichment workflow. Data can be uploaded to Illumina's BaseSpace sequence hub for rapid analysis with the DRAGEN RNA pathogen detection app. The BaseSpace hub is being offered free of charge until October 2020.

The company is also offering free, one-year licenses of its BaseSpace Clarity LIMS to researchers tracking and monitoring COVID-19 samples.

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