Adopting a scattershot approach to solving problems is a sign that you don’t know enough about the situation or that perhaps you have a limited toolbox to try to effect change. This applies to any industry, with medicine being no exception.
The more precisely you can work in any field, the larger the opportunity for success. This is why so many researchers are growing interested in next generation sequencing. Work being done in laboratories is demonstrating that next generation sequencing is a vital tool for better precision in medicine, with improved diagnostics.
Next Generation Sequencing Occurs in Academia, Research Facilities and Clinical Environments
High precision is necessary when researchers are trying to customize a medication for a particular ailment and a specific patient. So one area of research involves identifying what kinds of genetic predispositions might cause some patients to have adverse reactions to new therapeutic drugs under development, as noted in a recent report from iTechPost.
Testing the genes of patients also helps filter out the use of existing drugs that may react badly in one individual but not in another. This means doctors can eliminate some of the guesswork that goes on as they weigh one potential therapeutic modality for another.
The benefit to patients is that their doctors can practice personalized medicine. Doctors work more efficiently and are able to fine-tune their treatment approach, armed with genetic information from next generation sequencing systems.
Better Diagnostics Is Possible With Next Generation Sequencing
One should spare a thought for the unfortunate patients who find themselves traveling from one doctor to the next, trying in vain to get a definitive diagnosis to their ailment.
It’s not a straightforward process to identify the nature of a genetic disorder. But medical science has progressed to the point that researchers don’t have to perform manual analysis of the data they gather.
Automatic analysis is a key part of next generation sequencing, which relies on faster computer processors with higher bandwidth to transmit data and larger storage systems to house it all for real-time study.
Today, scientists are using next-gen sequencing for phenotyping, which has to do with understanding a disease or condition according to physical characteristics, as well as for genotyping, which involves analyzing a patient’s genetic sequence.
And sequencing genes isn’t just about patients that are coming to see their doctors for the first time in the face of a strange disorder. The iTechPost noted that researchers are also using next generation sequencing to look at older data to analyze it again. They predict that reanalysis could boost the number of genetic disease diagnoses by as much as 32%. With more data like this, more patients can receive better-targeted therapy.
The World’s Response to the Novel Coronavirus Is Getting Assistance From Scientists Using Next Generation Sequencing
One prominent use of next generation sequencing focuses on efforts to reduce the transmission of the virus causing COVID-19 infections.
There’s nothing like a global pandemic to focus the minds of curious scientific researchers and other medical professionals.
The tools used to identify patterns of genes are allowing researchers to sequence SARS-CoV-2 from samples obtained from different communities (in their waste water), per iTechPost. The next generation sequencing equipment gives scientists real-time data to see if the coronavirus is decreasing or increasing in a given community.
Not only does such rapid sequencing help quantify the level of virus in a particular city, it can also find new variants. Such details are necessary to identify areas where hospitals might soon see a surge in incoming patients, as well as to identify when new versions of the virus emerge.