A novel method for conserved sequence extraction with prospective mutation prediction for SARS-CoV-2 PCR primer design

J Virol Methods. 2021 Jul;293:114146. doi: 10.1016/j.jviromet.2021.114146. Epub 2021 Apr 1.


While the whole genomic sequence of SARS-CoV-2 had been revealed, it was also demonstrated that the genome of SARS-CoV-2 exhibits identity with the genome of SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV with ratios of 80 % and 50 % respectively. In the light of SARS-CoV-2 infection and mortality data, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 came into prominence around the world. As such many RT-PCR kits have been developed by biotechnology scientists. However viruses are fast mutating organisms and in order to increase accuracy, feasibility in long term and avoid the off target results of RT-PCR assays, regions of viral genome with low mutation rate and designing of primers targeting these regions are quite important. In this scope, we are presenting a novel algorithm that could be used for finding low mutation rate regions of SARS-CoV-2 and primers that were designed according to findings from our algorithm in this study.

Keywords: COVID-19; Conserved sequence; Evolution; Mutation prediction; Phylogenetics; Primer design; Probe design; SARS-CoV-2.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • COVID-19 / diagnosis*
  • COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing / methods*
  • DNA Primers*
  • Humans
  • Mutation*
  • Prospective Studies
  • SARS-CoV-2 / genetics*
  • Sequence Alignment


  • DNA Primers