New England Biolabs® Introduces ARTIC Products for SARS-CoV-2 Sequencing

New kits improve upon well-established ARTIC protocols for SARS-CoV-2 genome sequencing with optimized reagents and improved uniformity of coverage depth for Illumina® and Oxford Nanopore Technologies® next generation sequencing (NGS) platforms

IPSWICH, Mass, February 25, 2021 — New England Biolabs (NEB®) today released three kits based on the ARTIC Network protocols for multiplexed amplicon-based sequencing of viral RNA: NEBNext® ARTIC SARS-CoV-2 Library Prep Kit and NEBNext ARTIC SARS-CoV-2 FS Library Prep Kit, both for Illumina sequencing; and NEBNext ARTIC SARS-CoV-2 Companion Kit for Oxford Nanopore Technologies sequencing. The kits offer streamlined, high-efficiency protocols with balanced V3 primers and optimized reagents for uniform viral genome coverage across a range of inputs.

The ARTIC Network, an international consortium of researchers, has developed protocols for the epidemiological monitoring of viral genomes to provide insights into virus evolution and transmission for multiple viral outbreaks. Dr. Joshua Quick of the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, has led the development of protocols applicable to the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak based on amplicon sequencing-based approaches previously used for Ebola and Zika virus.

“Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ARTIC protocols have been widely adopted by researchers for sequencing the SARS-CoV-2 genome, and more recently have played a key role in helping to track the emergence of new variants,” said Fiona Stewart, Ph.D., Product Portfolio Manager, Next Generation Sequencing at NEB. “Working closely with the ARTIC Network, we developed the NEBNext ARTIC SARS-CoV-2 kits for labs with all levels of experience sequencing SARS-CoV-2. The uniformity of genome coverage from the balanced primers enables rapid, cost-effective SARS-CoV-2 sequencing.”

All three of the NEBNext ARTIC SARS-CoV-2 kits deliver uniform, ample amplicon yields from gRNA across a wide copy number range and use the same RT step for all inputs. The two library prep kits for Illumina sequencing provide options for library insert size and downstream sequencing parameters.

Vladimir Benes, Head of Genomics Core Facility at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory commented “We have been impressed by the great performance of the NEBNext ARTIC SARS-CoV-2 FS Library Prep Kit (Illumina) in our sequencing of human samples containing SARS-CoV-2 RNA. With this kit we have been successfully processing samples of varying quality and quantity and have been amazed by its sensitivity and remarkable uniformity of the viral genome coverage. The quick turnaround time of the robust workflow has been truly beneficial for us.”

"The NEBNext ARTIC SARS-CoV-2 Companion Kit (Oxford Nanopore Technologies) will provide researchers with the most convenient way to perform nanopore sequencing of SARS-CoV-2,” said Joshua Quick, Ph.D., of the University of Birmingham and the ARTIC Network.

“When developing the ARTIC protocol we have focused on recovery of near-complete genomes from challenging clinical samples with <Ct33. We adopted a 400 bp tiling amplicon approach because it provides robust performance across a wide range of inputs including high Ct and degraded RNA samples which are often encountered. The native barcoding workflow provides full-length amplicons compatible with best practice demultiplexing and reference-based consensus building while the PCR-free library preparation minimizes amplicon contamination risk. We have worked in collaboration with NEB in optimizing the protocol to minimize reagent volumes while improving performance and this now also benefits from optimized primer pools which greatly improve genome completeness and reduce read coverage requirements. The compatibility with the 96-barcode native barcoding expansion kit allows the flexibility to run between 24 and 96 samples depending on your requirements.”

Further details about each individual kit:

  • NEBNext ARTIC SARS-CoV-2 FS Library Prep Kit (Illumina): Incorporating enzymatic cDNA fragmentation, library inserts are ~150 bp, for 2 x 75 sequencing.
  • NEBNext ARTIC SARS-CoV-2 Library Prep Kit (Illumina): ~400 bp library inserts, for 2 x 250 sequencing.
  • NEBNext ARTIC SARS-CoV-2 Companion Kit (Oxford Nanopore Technologies): ~400 bp library inserts, for 2 to 24-hour sequencing runs.

To learn more about Joshua Quick’s work in the ARTIC Network, listen to Episode 28 of the NEB COVID-19 Researcher Spotlight Series found here.

For more information about the NEBNext ARTIC SARS-CoV-2 kits, please visit


About New England Biolabs
Established in the mid 1970's, New England Biolabs, Inc. (NEB) is the industry leader in the discovery and production of enzymes for molecular biology applications and now offers the largest selection of recombinant and native enzymes for genomic research. NEB continues to expand its product offerings into areas related to PCR, gene expression, sample preparation for next generation sequencing, synthetic biology, glycobiology, epigenetics and RNA analysis. Additionally, NEB is focused on strengthening alliances that enable new technologies to reach key market sectors, including molecular diagnostics development. New England Biolabs is a privately held company, headquartered in Ipswich, MA, and has extensive worldwide distribution through a network of exclusive distributors, agents and eight subsidiaries located in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore and the UK. For more information about New England Biolabs visit

NEB®, NEW ENGLAND BIOLABS®, NEBNext® are registered trademarks of New England Biolabs, Inc.

ILLUMINA® is a registered trademark of Illumina, Inc.

OXFORD NANOPORE TECHNOLOGIES® is a registered trademark of Oxford Nanopore Technologies, Inc.

Contact Information:

Deana D. Martin, Ph.D.
Associate Director, Marketing Communications
New England Biolabs
240 County Road Ipswich, MA 01938
Tel: 978-380-7464



Return to News Listing