As Covid-19 continues to be a reason for a stir worldwide, focus of healthcare workers is to find ways to identify the cause of spread of the infection, in hospital settings too. Rapid genome sequencing of virus samples and increased testing of hospital staff can help to detect clusters of healthcare-related COVID- 19 infections, explain researchers at Cambridge.
Earlier, since the start of spread of the virus in the UK, researchers have been studying the genetic code of the virus. This is undertaken by a team of researchers and clinicians at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and University of Cambridge to examine if cases within the hospital are connected. Such an effort has enabled the hospital to completely examine these outbreaks and to improve measures for infection control, to reduce the risk of further infections.
Repeat Testing of Staff helps lower Hospital-acquired infections
Besides this, with a screening program in place that involved repeat testing of staff, this has helped the hospital to examine clusters of COVID-19 infections. Resultantly, this has helped with infection control measures and to break chains of transmission. This has helped to lower the number of hospital-acquired infections, to ensure maximum safety of patients and staff as the NHS plans to re-start other services.
Previously, researchers at Cambridge pioneered the use of genome sequencing. This is a way of managing hospital-associated infections such as Clostridium difficile, Staphylococcus aureus, and vancomycin resistant enterococci. Also, researchers employed real-time sequencing to rapidly detect transmission chains of epidemics such as the Ebola epidemic.
Now, the attention of researchers is on COVID-19.
The findings reveal coronavirus of COVID-19 is a RNA virus, because of which its genetic code is vulnerable to errors each time it replicates.