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Genov is the scientific project of genomic surveillance of Dasa, Brazil’s largest integrated healthcare network. The initiative's mission is to monitor the evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for Covid-19. The goal is to detect, through sample sequencing surveillance, the emergence of variants and to track the genetic evolution of the virus, especially now as the P.1 lineage proliferates in the country. The project has the endorsement of the Ethics Committee, affiliated to the Brazilian Research Ethics Commission (CONEP).

Dasa provides the human, technical and operational resources of the project based on the physical structure of genomic diagnosis. The samples analysed will come from Dasa’s diagnostic medicine labs based in over 900 locations nationwide. The sequencing of these samples will be performed at the Dasa Genomics Diagnostic Centre, the largest technology complex for genome sequencing in Latin America and located in São Paulo.

Genov: a milestone for science in Brazil

Genov represents a historic leap in science in Brazil, such are its contributions to the scientific community and to civil society. The project will increase six-fold the number of SARS-CoV-2 sequences in the country, forming the largest private genome bank of Brazilian viruses. The samples will be sequenced based on clinical, immunological and epidemiological criteria: the project’s differential is to consider the incidence of the disease in the past month in each region of the country.

The intense research work will involve sequencing 30,000 genomes within 12 months (about 3,000 samples a month) to assess possible variants so that the necessary adjustments can be made to immunisers worldwide. It will also help in thetracking and blocking of people in direct contact with carriers of focal variants and with the assessment of cases of anomalous clinical presentation (reinfections, persistence, severe cases in patients outside risk groups).

The initiative will anticipate evolutionary scenarios of the virus

The wider circulation of the virus is an opportunity for evolutionary advantage and generation of new variants that may have greater ability to infect human cells, leading to higher viral loads, as we saw in P1. This leads to increased transmissibility and possible aggravation of the disease. The Genov project is an answer to the pressing need to anticipate this scenario, while vaccination takes its course, so that we can put this crisis situation behind us.

The systematic sequencing of a representative sample of new SARS-CoV-2 cases enables virus evolution to be safely and swiftly tracked in real time and will generate socially-focused information about the prevalence of variants, early data on the emergence and impact of new variants of interest (VOIs) and of concern (VOCs) about the disease and its impact on the severity of the clinical scenario. The strengthening of non-pharmacological measures (social distancing and isolation, the use of masks and hand washing) and the establishment of large-scale vaccine campaigns and genomic surveillance form the tripod of Covid-19 prevention.

The importance of genomic surveillance in Brazil

Only few countries conduct genomic surveillance to identify, characterise and isolate variants when they appear in the region. This process helps decision making by preventing the variant from becoming dominant in the area. An increase in severe cases, deaths and the collapse of the health system due to the disease can all be avoided by characterising the variant profile.

The results will be published monthly in GISAID, a global scientific database providing open access genomic data about the influenza and corona viruses. The data will also be posted on this website, in Portuguese and English, with reports and through the necessary official notifications.

About Dasa

Dasa is the largest integrated healthcare network in the country and currently serves over 20 million people a year. Created to be the healthcare that people want and that the world needs, Dasa is present in all stages of care. It believes in health management - and not just disease management - and operates from a preventive, predictive and personalised point of view.

Firm in the high tech + high touch approach, Dasa believes in a healthcare journey that integrates diagnostic medicine, high-complexity hospitals, genomics, oncology, care coordination, primary and secondary care, telemedicine and emergency care. In addition, it provides unencumbered healthcare development for both patients and doctors, including integrated corporate healthcare solutions, through Dasa Empresas, and the care of its more than 40,000 employees.

We are 250,000 partner physicians, 13 referral hospitals and more than 59 brands of diagnostic medicine and hospitals located over more than 900 units throughout Brazil. We are Dasa and we are for life. For more information go to .