As the pioneer institution of bringing omics research and application to Mindanao, the state-of-the-art sequencing equipment have finally arrived in the facility PGC Mindanao in February 2022.
The NextSeq1000 Sequencing System is currently housed in the biotechnology laboratory of UP Mindanao. The said equipment allows PGC Mindanao to conduct whole-genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 for the local detection and biosurveillance of COVID-19 variants within the region.
PGC Mindanao in UP Mindanao, in collaboration with the Department of Health (DOH) and the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) is set to conduct genome sequencing to identify COVID-19 variants in Mindanao. This endeavor is funded by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to augment the national biosurveillance efforts of the PGC Main in Diliman, Quezon City. Moreover, the program was also instituted to expand and enhance regional preparedness and response to COVID-19.
While iSeq 100 Sequencing System is also used for small whole-genome sequencing (eg, bacteria, viruses, plasmids), targeted sequencing of a set of genes or gene regions, gene expression analysis, or 16S metagenomics.
Moreover, the Applied Biosystems SeqStudio Genetic Analyzer is equipment capable of carrying out Sanger or capillary sequencing and fragment analysis. It will be used for PGC Mindanao’s undertakings on gene discovery, population genetics, and species identification among other things.
After the installation of these equipment, a series of training was conducted in the same week for the PGC Mindanao staff to capacitate them on sample processing and handling equipment operation.
Genomic sequencing allows scientists to identify SARS-CoV-2, including its genetic variations that lead to the emergence of new variants that may spread more easily, cause more severe disease, or may escape from immunity. The surveillance will also provide essential information to authorities and researchers to improve and develop therapeutics, vaccines, and public health preventive measures against the virus.