Sciensano receives BELAC accreditation for Next Generation Sequencing (NGS)

Published on: 
Thursday, January 2, 2020
Last updated on 2-1-2020 by Lydie Denis

Sciensano acquired a BELAC accreditation in July 2019 to use Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) that allows whole genome sequencing (WGS). This ambitious technique is the new reference established by international specialists. It brings up new research perspectives in the genomic field for Sciensano.

What is NGS ? 

Next Generation Sequencing is a technique to :

  • Rapidly determine a complete or specific part of a genome (i.e. the complete or a part of the genetic composition of an organism), thanks to the parallel analysis of multiple DNA sequences
  • Characterize an important number of pathogens based on their genetic information

Which role for health? 

NGS plays a crucial role in pathogen identification as well as the identification of their characteristics. Pathogens are responsible for human and animal diseases, but they can also be present  in the food chain or the environment (bacteria’s, germs, etc.). Compared to the current techniques, the more detailed identification, thanks to the NGS, facilitates the surveillance and the rapid containment of epidemic outbreaks.

A cutting-edge technology

Whole genome sequencing has the potential to become the principal analysis tool in national centers reference (CNR) and national reference laboratories (NRL) and implies a renewal of the workflow ;

  • Laboratory workflows need to be adapted
  • Employees must specialize in the use of NGS

The service Transversal activities in Applied Genomics (TAG) of Sciensano now masters those techniques. Evaluated by BELAC, the Belgian Accreditation Organization, both in terms of laboratory sequencing and bioinformatic analysis of quality of the data generated, the TAG service has obtained ISO17025 accreditation. Sciensano’s enforcement laboratories will thus be able to carry out routine analyzes under accreditation, using the NGS.

Sciensano becomes, thanks to the BELAC accreditation, a leading (inter)national player in the sequencing of the genome and opens, at the same time, new research perspectives.

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