Diagnosis and characterisation of SARS – COVID-19 and variants of concern

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A pandemic is an epidemic occurring worldwide, and spread of SARS CoV2 from Hubei province in China globally has led to rapid changes in our approaches to diagnosis, with rapid use of molecular methods. The use of virus molecular characterisation techniques such as Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) has allowed assessment of emerging mutations such as SARS CoV2 Variants of Concern (VOC). We and others utilise novel diagnostics including sample pooling, reflex testing using WGS, and workflow changes to handle 7-10 fold increases in testing numbers. These diagnostics, and recently introduced WGS assessment of quality, VOCs and mutations affecting primer binding will be discussed.