The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) to Illumina, Inc. for the first COVID-19 diagnostic test utilizing next generation sequence technology. The FDA authorized the Illumina COVIDSeq Test for the qualitative detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA from respiratory specimens collected from individuals suspected of COVID-19 by their healthcare provider. Using next generation sequencing means that the test can generate information about the genomic sequence of the virus present in a sample, which can be also used for research purposes.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen the ingenuity that results from the FDA working in partnership with the private sector. Having a next generation sequencing diagnostic tool available will continue to expand our testing capabilities. Additionally, genetic sequencing information will help us monitor if and how the virus mutates, which will be crucial to our efforts to continue to learn and fight this virus,” said FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn, M.D.
Next generation sequencing is a type of diagnostic technology that can determine, among other things, the genetic sequence of a virus. Comparing sequencing results over time can help scientists understand if and how viruses mutate.