HiSpike Method for High-Throughput Cost Effective Sequencing of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike Gene

Ephraim Fass, Gal Zizelski Valenci, Mor Rubinstein, Paul J. Freidlin, Shira Rosencwaig, Inna Kutikov, Robert Werner, Nofar Ben-Tovim, Efrat Bucris, Oran Erster, Neta S. Zuckerman, Orna Mor, Ella Mendelson, Zeev Dveyrin, Efrat Rorman, Israel Nissan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The changing nature of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic poses unprecedented challenges to the world's health systems. Emerging spike gene variants jeopardize global efforts to produce immunity and reduce morbidity and mortality. These challenges require effective real-time genomic surveillance solutions that the medical community can quickly adopt. The SARS-CoV-2 spike protein mediates host receptor recognition and entry into the cell and is susceptible to generation of variants with increased transmissibility and pathogenicity. The spike protein is the primary target of neutralizing antibodies in COVID-19 patients and the most common antigen for induction of effective vaccine immunity. Tight monitoring of spike protein gene variants is key to mitigating COVID-19 spread and generation of vaccine escape mutants. Currently, SARS-CoV-2 sequencing methods are labor intensive and expensive. When sequence demands are high sequencing resources are quickly exhausted. Consequently, most SARS-CoV-2 strains are sequenced in only a few developed countries and rarely in developing regions. This poses the risk that undetected, dangerous variants will emerge. In this work, we present HiSpike, a method for high-throughput cost effective targeted next generation sequencing of the spike gene. This simple three-step method can be completed in < 30 h, can sequence 10-fold more samples compared to conventional methods and at a fraction of their cost. HiSpike has been validated in Israel, and has identified multiple spike variants from real-time field samples including Alpha, Beta, Delta and the emerging Omicron variants. HiSpike provides affordable sequencing options to help laboratories conserve resources for widespread high-throughput, near real-time monitoring of spike gene variants.

Original languageEnglish
Article number798130
JournalFrontiers in Medicine
StatePublished - 11 Jan 2022


  • HiSpike
  • NGS
  • Omicron variant
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • cost effective
  • high-throughput
  • spike variants
  • variants of concern


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