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Oxford Nanopore launches ‘Midnight kit’, suitable for low to high-throughput SARS-CoV-2 sequencing, enabling rapid, low-cost, large-scale genomic surveillance of COVID-19

Mon 13th September 2021

Midnight Kit now available for low, medium, and high-throughput, rapid sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — on Oxford Nanopore sequencing devices. 

This new approach for whole-genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 makes use of the Oxford Nanopore Rapid Barcoding Kits for fast turnaround of tens to thousands of samples. Hands-on time is minimal, facilitating automation and high throughput. This can be leveraged to reduce cost-per-sample to as little as $9.55. 

The ultimate speed, flexibility and scale 

Workflows can take 12 samples from RNA to answer on a MinION in 7 hours and 15 minutes. Scaling this to GridION, up to 480 genomes can be prepared, sequenced and analysed in under a day. Where both throughput and time to answer are key, users can run 96 samples on a single PromethION flow cell with an overall workflow time of 13 hours. This can be scaled to over 2,000 genomes by running up to 48 flow cells in parallel on a P48.

Minimal hands-on time enables easy adoption in laboratories that are new to sequencing, and bundle options launched in store today contain everything needed to get up and running with whole-genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2. Midnight starter packs are also available for Mk1C and GridION at $9,064 and $80,885, respectively.

Midnight and ARTIC 

Midnight is introduced alongside the ARTIC method — a well-established protocol that is used around the world. Both approaches were developed by the ARTIC network and collaborators, and enable rapid sequencing of SARS-CoV-2, but the Midnight protocol brings greater simplicity and scalability, at a reduced price per sample compared to the method that uses native barcoding.  

Both ARTIC and Midnight protocols are incredible contributions from the scientific community, namely the ARTIC network and Nikki Freed and Olin Silander, respectively. 

This launch aims to take these contributions and magnify their impact by increasing availability and affordability of sequencing into new and existing laboratories, in the fight against COVID-19 other outbreaks in the future. 

Genomic epidemiology for COVID-19 surveillance 

From initial characterisation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus genome to the rapid identification of variants, a global community of scientists have been utilising nanopore sequencing to generate data essential to combating the spread of COVID-19. More than 480,000 viral genomes have been sequenced using the technology, in over 85 countries. 

Genomic epidemiology is a crucial weapon in the public health fight against COVID-19, providing rapid identification and complete characterisation of SARS-CoV-2. The release of the Midnight Kit will enable scientists to scale up this work and monitor for ongoing transmission and the introduction of new variants.  

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