Articles, Blog

Why labs are printing the coronavirus genome

February 14, 2020

(pensive music) – In December of last year, doctors in Wuhan, China, had
a mystery on their hands. People in the region were coming down with an unusual pneumonia. It’s cold and flu season, but these people didn’t have either. Doctors quickly realized it
might be something entirely new. – Medical nightmare, the
coronavirus outbreak. – Never seen before, coronavirus. – The number of confirmed
cases in China keeps soaring. – [Reporter] Already 45 cases– – [Reporter] 200 cases– – [Reporter] There are more
than 6,000 confirmed cases. – But so far, this outbreak
has gone differently from others in the past. Thanks to the latest in biotechnology, scientists have been able to unravel the mystery
at remarkable speed. They’re revealing the
biology of the new virus more quickly than ever before, and they’re hoping its fast enough to drive back the disease outbreak. Chinese officials told the
World Health Organization that it had an outbreak
of some kind of virus on December 31st. By January 7th, Chinese
scientists figured out that the virus was a coronavirus. That’s from the same
family of virus as SARS, which emerged in China in 2002, and MERS, which affected people
in the Middle East in 2012. The next step in
understanding the new virus was sequencing its DNA; figuring out the unique
order of nucleotides, DNA’s building blocks, that make it up. The new coronavirus
genome looks like this. It’s just under 30,000 bases long. By January 13th, less than a
week after it was identified, scientists in Shanghai had mapped out the entire genetic
sequence of a virus sample collected from a patient. Compare that with the SARS virus, which started infecting
people in November 2002. It took until April 2003 before that virus was sequenced in its entirety. And at this point, we don’t
just have one genetic sequence for the new coronavirus. Scientists have collected and sequenced nearly two-dozen samples of the virus collected from different patients. Researchers say the speed
has been unprecedented. A lot of important things become possible once experts have this
full sequence of the virus. Notably, that blueprint can
end up in a place like this. – Yeah, I mean, this is the
exact typical order we get. It’s a bunch of A, C, G, and T. And for us and our machine,
we can print anything. So, if you want hemoglobin
today, we can print hemoglobin. If you want chicken DNA, if
you want coronavirus DNA, we can do it. – Twist Bioscience is a biotech company in South San Francisco that
builds custom DNA to order. As the coronavirus outbreak progresses, scientists around the world are turning to companies like Twist to build copies of viral
genes for urgent study. And they’re sending in lots of orders. – We expected that there would be a number of demands for
variance of the coronavirus to help in that discovery of drugs, vaccines, and diagnostic kits. And whatever comes from the web tonight we’ll start making tomorrow. – Custom-built DNA has been
around since the 1980s, but the technology has
gotten dramatically cheaper and easier since then. So, researchers today have a
lot more DNA at their disposal than they did during the
SARS or MERS outbreaks. – [Emily] If you go back to 2000, it would take $10 to make one base of DNA. In 2010, it will make
$1, so 10 times more. And today, it’s nine cents per base, so, again, 10 times more. – That’s important because
this kind of research requires a lot of trial and error. So, the more copies of a gene
scientists have, the better. – So, it’s biology. And in biology, it almost
never works on the first time. You have to take a lot of
shots on goal to get there. We give people the opportunity to take more shots on goal faster, and that way they can get
to that answer faster. – There’s a few things scientists do with this genetic material. It can help create tests to
screen patients for the virus. It can help researchers
understand how the virus works and what it does to cells in the body. And, crucially, it could be used in the development of vaccines. One important note. Even though companies like Twist are churning out copies
of the coronavirus genome, there’s no concern they’ll
accidentally start an epidemic. They’re not actually making the virus. – I think one thing that
people should remember is that nature is the
biggest bioterrorist. Nature wants to kill you, and that’s what happens
with the coronavirus. So, the virus is out there. The sequence is out there. So, we are not creating more virus. We are making fragments
of the virus to researcher in order to enable them
to find tools to detect it and tools to fight it. – The coronavirus is still a fast-developing public health crisis. It’ll be a while before
we fully understand its health impact and longer still before
there are treatments or vaccines available to fight it. But thanks to the progress in DNA tech, we have a greater
headstart than ever before. Thanks so much for watching. If you’re interested in learning
more about the coronavirus, check out for the latest news on the ongoing outbreak.


  • Reply Verge Science February 11, 2020 at 5:01 pm

    Correction: a few commenters have noted that we aren’t using the terms “DNA” and “RNA” accurately. We’re working on a couple updates to the video. Stay tuned!

  • Reply Cashmoney Rye February 12, 2020 at 1:09 am

    cases are in the 100,000s I can bet on that !!

  • Reply Blind Visionary February 12, 2020 at 1:11 am

    Globalism was never a good idea for the human species.

  • Reply ChicaBond007 February 12, 2020 at 1:16 am

    “custom dna made to order” …..

  • Reply Jewels February 12, 2020 at 1:18 am

    Soooooo? , does that mean? We won't be around, to play the…. ,The last of us 2. On may 29.

  • Reply Vishal Mohandas February 12, 2020 at 1:25 am

    Nature wants to kill you..?

    How stupid can one be.

  • Reply Wenting Qu February 12, 2020 at 1:38 am

    4:29 “Nature wants to kill you” FYI

  • Reply HKO2006 February 12, 2020 at 1:41 am

    1:13 No, the next step by China is to arrest the 8 doctors who talked about the virus for "spreading rumors".

  • Reply Dogs Sing February 12, 2020 at 1:54 am

    But how dangerous is it and will it spread to NYC

  • Reply analogaudio rules February 12, 2020 at 1:58 am

    Perhaps will get lucky and it'll remove humanity. lol

  • Reply Nim Nadarajah February 12, 2020 at 2:03 am

    Where can I find the link to print out the genomic sequence

  • Reply King_Charles The Golden Crown February 12, 2020 at 2:15 am

    Who is watching with have fever

  • Reply Heather Vazquez February 12, 2020 at 2:20 am

    The video of the cells multiplying is terrifying. Is that sped up? Custom DNA hmm.

  • Reply informationtolearn 11 February 12, 2020 at 2:22 am


  • Reply Levi Bailey February 12, 2020 at 2:31 am

    Wtf is that guy doing behind that shopping cart? @ 5:16

  • Reply Samuel Carvalho February 12, 2020 at 2:33 am

    It’s sad to see how many gullible people there is out there who think it’s a manufactured virus or that the US did this to China. If you had a clue about economics, trade etc. you’d know this outbreak is hurting US and global trade. China is a huge global manufacturer and the US and others rely heavily on China for parts and products, with businesses around the world now slowing as they cannot get the products they need from China as productivity has slumped massively, mass amounts of workers not turning up to work and more. Then again the US Gov is stupid and they could easily do something that they think is smart but actually shots themselves in the foot.

  • Reply Som nambulants February 12, 2020 at 3:12 am

    The taxi drivers had been talking about something going around as early as December 7th of 2019. No one could confirm what it was but had been afraid it was another outbreak of SARS.

  • Reply Lkh Dama February 12, 2020 at 3:51 am

    OMG thats my COUSIN right THERE!!!!!!!!!!!! shes mongolian!

  • Reply Isabel bergh February 12, 2020 at 3:54 am

    Cocconut oil 🥥✌️

  • Reply Andrés Esparragoza February 12, 2020 at 4:04 am

    Okay, but what was the purpose of this video?

  • Reply TheBinadis February 12, 2020 at 4:23 am

    'Nature wants to kill you', I knew it. I knew someone was out for me! 😉

    But seriously, good work to all involved in sequencing the disease, working to contain it, helping those who are sick and finding a cure.

  • Reply LOADING... February 12, 2020 at 4:30 am

    I thought they already got DNA from

  • Reply Lucky Luke February 12, 2020 at 4:48 am


    Back in the old days when modern scientists did not exist, this is the type of epidemic that would wipe out millions and millions of lives. Science is amazing, and thank you.

  • Reply Debra Clarkbrown February 12, 2020 at 5:02 am

    Thank you.

  • Reply KaRmA KaRmA February 12, 2020 at 5:20 am

    Do you look different if you ▶️ the virus??

  • Reply z0ro_ February 12, 2020 at 5:40 am

    Wired that they mapped so quick almost like they knew about it beforehand

  • Reply emile zola February 12, 2020 at 5:48 am

    intelligent design….indeed
    more like recycling of humanity
    is god in the recycling business of generation of humans????/

  • Reply Merlia Santos February 12, 2020 at 5:49 am

    Check out videos from Henry Chen Phd on Twitter for the best collection up videos on Wuhan Coronavirus within China

  • Reply Ana Bee February 12, 2020 at 5:50 am

    nanobots. you're welcome

  • Reply Mike Garcia February 12, 2020 at 6:09 am

    0_o That's some pretty complicated stuff their! Impressive

  • Reply Nitin Baisoya February 12, 2020 at 7:04 am

    Check #CoronavirusLiveDeathCount

  • Reply Brent Carter February 12, 2020 at 7:05 am

    Coronavirus ‘precursor to something much much bigger

  • Reply Monsieur P. February 12, 2020 at 7:36 am

    Where’s the HIV and SARS vaccines? Not as easy as it sounds, and don’t think there’ll be a vaccine for this.

  • Reply PureTruth February 12, 2020 at 7:41 am

    what sort of virsdu is that at near the 3 minute mark?

  • Reply Morgana Lefay February 12, 2020 at 8:28 am

    What a hideous monster this turned out to be.

  • Reply Bruno Perlstein February 12, 2020 at 10:25 am

    War has become obsolete this is the new population control

  • Reply Jabir Ansari February 12, 2020 at 10:39 am

    Nature also make you alive..

  • Reply Bobbito Chicon February 12, 2020 at 12:12 pm

    💥 Just curious has The Corona Virus Covid already mutated into more then 1 strain?

  • Reply Rauze February 12, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    "nature wants to kill you" that got me like …………….😂😭😭

  • Reply Over 40 Keeping it healthy February 12, 2020 at 12:52 pm

    I know someone personally there and the timeline of when they told the public is NOT in line with what really happened. In fact Wuhan had a huge open buffet after the date your saying they alerted the public.

  • Reply Erin Bragg Sr February 12, 2020 at 12:54 pm

    "NO" She wasn't paid to say this…

  • Reply Roberto Minuta February 12, 2020 at 1:31 pm


  • Reply Akane-chan February 12, 2020 at 1:38 pm

    First is Coronavirus

    In 2021 zombie virus

  • Reply Troy Sierra February 12, 2020 at 1:59 pm

    When you say, you've detected two dozen sequences. Does that mean, the Novel Coronavirus has began it's early stages of mutation in it's span?

    As you unravel the genome. Would that also mean, that with any other viruses this season. You could detect a more likely infection direction?

  • Reply Thomas M February 12, 2020 at 2:01 pm

    RNA not DNA. Get the basics right before preparing a lecture for us.

  • Reply Zilant Obelisk February 12, 2020 at 4:17 pm

    Biowarfare comes to mind.

  • Reply sasorisa sama February 12, 2020 at 4:34 pm

    Did it really begin in december last year???

  • Reply LukBukkit February 12, 2020 at 5:00 pm

    Funny how they put the Westworld reference on their DNA printers. See 3:14

  • Reply Atharva Kharbade February 12, 2020 at 5:01 pm

    RIP Dr. Li

  • Reply Atharva Kharbade February 12, 2020 at 5:12 pm

    No one :
    Literally no one :

    People in the commenta section here : It's not DNA, it's RNA but DNA is RNA. But you're wrong with DNA cuz it's RNA.

  • Reply Tony Dardi February 12, 2020 at 5:26 pm

    I have the Corona virus…. I drink 12 of them a day.

  • Reply MysteriusBhoice February 12, 2020 at 5:49 pm

    the footage of the genome has t instead of u and this is supposed to be an RNA virus not DNA

  • Reply Piper York February 12, 2020 at 6:09 pm

    Can anyone tell me why being on pain meds was a concern for passengers?

  • Reply parthasarathy Venkatadri February 12, 2020 at 6:11 pm

    If any viral DNA. Can be printed … Then can't a virus be made such that a dna that does not show up symptoms for a very long time … And then after say 10 -12 years when almost everything is infected suddenly it would become deadly ..

  • Reply Георгий Грудин February 12, 2020 at 7:42 pm

    Nice video, apart from that hideous thing your showing to the public

  • Reply misterOsc February 12, 2020 at 8:00 pm

    3:26 Dolores?

  • Reply Dalton Blanton February 12, 2020 at 8:21 pm

    2:20 lmaooo wtf is that 🤣🤣🤣

  • Reply Gen February 12, 2020 at 10:12 pm

    That end statement is such bs. They were trying to make it seem like they can’t make viruses which is bs

  • Reply Davi J February 12, 2020 at 10:27 pm

    Lmfao… is that a man?

  • Reply 天天星系 Daily GalaxyFun Channel February 12, 2020 at 10:31 pm

    Latest wideos taken by foreign nationals in China under quarantined or semi-quarantined cities. Worth to see. Bilingual and it's kinda funny.

  • Reply Pete February 12, 2020 at 10:40 pm

    Wonder why that CEO was hired. LMAO! Anything to fill the diversity quota. Pathetic!!

  • Reply Austin Clarke February 12, 2020 at 11:18 pm

    Sacha Baron Cohen really let himself go 2:20

  • Reply Sidnaciousness February 13, 2020 at 12:26 am

    it's mAAaam!!

  • Reply gubzero February 13, 2020 at 12:26 am

    3:05 Who's that transgendermon. it'sssssss Emily Leproust.

  • Reply samarth pattar February 13, 2020 at 12:30 am

    Can you please make an episode of the effects of corona virus, what it does to victims

  • Reply B W February 13, 2020 at 1:37 am

    Which cities are the most vulnerable?
    Corona Virus: YES!

  • Reply Frank Em February 13, 2020 at 2:21 am

    What the. This all serious til you hit this.. 2:20 where am I? 😂😂

  • Reply Cuck Loser February 13, 2020 at 3:02 am

    2:20 WTH… I wasn't expecting that

  • Reply jack don February 13, 2020 at 3:46 am

    so is anybody going to talk about 2:26

  • Reply Grand Templar Master February 13, 2020 at 4:02 am

    What in the H.E.DOUBLEFUCK is that? 2:20

  • Reply Grand Templar Master February 13, 2020 at 4:03 am


  • Reply Fernanda Aguirre February 13, 2020 at 4:05 am

    I hate when people say "u have the coronavirus" like if it's a joke

  • Reply Leshem Amaya-Mejia February 13, 2020 at 4:22 am

    Brooooo, she sounds like a guy 2:30

  • Reply Snoopwoo February 13, 2020 at 4:41 am

    "The Coronavirus is made up of genic material called RNA. But scientists converted it, to the more recognizable DNA, to make it easier to study." Timestamp is at 1:30

    It's very obvious that a lot of people didn't actually try to give any attention and kept complaining that this video had a lot of errors.

  • Reply The10thkingdom February 13, 2020 at 4:47 am

    Is that a dude?

  • Reply JPL Toy Experience February 13, 2020 at 5:11 am

    I'm a microbiologist

  • Reply ivan abed February 13, 2020 at 5:27 am

    cure development is boosted 500%

  • Reply Jonathan OBrien February 13, 2020 at 5:46 am


  • Reply Jonathan OBrien February 13, 2020 at 5:49 am

    He said nature wants to kill you hahahahahahahaha

  • Reply Jenny Pai February 13, 2020 at 6:08 am

    Please include Taiwan as a member country

  • Reply S. Garr. February 13, 2020 at 6:08 am

    China Citizens: Massive uncontrolled and constant protest

    China: Sends out deadly virus.

  • Reply Robbie Schlerf February 13, 2020 at 6:21 am

    even this was made in china

  • Reply Sherlock Asimov February 13, 2020 at 8:01 am

    Keyword: laboratory accidental leak

  • Reply yefrem February 13, 2020 at 8:22 am


  • Reply Flexon'em February 13, 2020 at 9:48 am

    ok iam just goinga say it ,THAT'S A FKN MAN FOR SURE ,IF IAM WRONG DAMMM😅😂 … sorry ..

  • Reply teachmehowtodoge February 13, 2020 at 10:57 am

    “Cover-Up 2019” virus. Lol.

  • Reply Holy Cow!!! February 13, 2020 at 11:11 am

    Great video but pls fix tht cc

  • Reply Mr MEMé February 13, 2020 at 12:00 pm

    What was that Commenting ¿¿¿¿ 😮😮

  • Reply Tee Khing Hua February 13, 2020 at 12:48 pm

    Missing some subtitles, pls fix it TQ.

  • Reply Siegfried Guentensperger February 13, 2020 at 2:27 pm

    Subtitles are incorrectly queued… otherwise, great video

  • Reply Game Guru Bangla February 13, 2020 at 2:51 pm

    Can i use your video to create a video please i want to make a educational video

  • Reply Salvador Dale February 13, 2020 at 4:25 pm

    Is it just me or anyone else sees Sid from Ice Age?

  • Reply pixel Hammer February 13, 2020 at 4:57 pm

    Can you do a piece on whether this is a bio weapon?

  • Reply Maverick Tannhäuser February 13, 2020 at 5:03 pm

    A single-stranded RNA means it can mutate unexpectedly, and when it does, all your previous defense mechanisms will become useless.
    Soon they'll realize CRISPR is the ultimate ultimate solution. The best weapon is the one that adapts.
    If there's gonna be a CRISPR human trial I'd like to volunteer.
    Unless the consequence is growing too many tentacles.
    A few tentacles are fine.

  • Reply IgorGuardMy February 13, 2020 at 7:03 pm

    Subtitles are not in sync with like 30 sec delay, starting somewhere at 1/3. Can you please keep an eye on it? I rely on subtitles in some parts of the video

  • Reply Claudio February 13, 2020 at 8:45 pm

    captions get innacurate and out of sync from 1:29 to the end of the video

  • Reply Gokoye February 13, 2020 at 10:33 pm

    Obviously they never played Plague Inc

  • Reply Leggo MuhEggo February 13, 2020 at 11:55 pm

    what a twist

  • Reply strgazerlilly February 14, 2020 at 12:43 am

    What is the purpose of this video exactly? I got the impression that it was more of an ad for the company instead of information about the virus. If that is the case more power to you but it is misleading rhe way you have posted it.

  • Reply Terri Pebsworth February 14, 2020 at 3:00 am

    Nature doesn't want to kill you. YOU are part of nature.

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