The current crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemics is an exceptional situation, that requires all members of society to help to their best in fighting this crisis. In addition to acute medical care, it is urgently needed to provide and scale diagnostics, develop vaccines and identify drugs and therapies that can inhibit the virus or reduce the severity of the disease.
Beyond these important efforts, it has also been recognized that NGS-based approaches can provide important information about the corona virus itself as well as the immune response against the virus and the role of the hosts genetic makeup.
It is important to understand the host-pathogen interaction, how the virus evolves over time, what the host factors are that contribute to severity of the disease, and why the immune system seems to fail in some patients.
Sequencing technologies can help at all these fronts, since we are nowadays able to sequence in short turnaround whole viral genomes, we quickly can establish the genetic makeup of an individual by either SNP genotyping or genome sequencing and with numerous approaches in functional genomics we can monitor complex immune responses over time.
The DFG-funded NGS competence network (NGS-CN) is qualified to carry out genomic research to contribute to the fight of this pandemic. The NGS-CN consists of four major NGS competence centers (NGS-CCs): the Competence Center for Genomic Analysis Kiel (CCGA), the Dresden Concept Genome Center (DcGC), the NGS Competence Center Tübingen (NCCT), and the West German Genome Center (WGGC). Together, they are operating at 6 German universities providing sequencing expertise and capacity in the areas of pathogen genome sequencing, human genome sequencing and functional genomics. These centers act as a network and are therefore prepared to provide the necessary sequencing services and data analytics to better follow the evolution of COVID-19 throughout Germany.
The members of the NGS-CN have defined three priority areas, namely:
1) sequencing of the virus,
2) describing the immune response to the virus by functional genomics,
3) contributing to the identification of genetic factors that might influence disease severity.
In these three priority areas, eight individual projects have been defined that are tackled by a large group of researchers across several German universities.
For more information please contact the Central Coordination Unit (CCU) of the NGS-CN at the following email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Central Coordination Unit (CCU)
Tel.: +49/ (0)2 28 / 73 – 6 27 22