# Global Sequencing Capability

I’ve been trying to come up with a rough estimate for the total worldwide sequencing capability. To estimate this, I tried to estimate the number of instruments deployed for popular sequencing platforms. The numbers below represent my estimates as of December 31st 2021.

Based on this estimate we could currently sequence 2.2 Exabases a year, or 70 Gigabases/s.

In most cases vendors don’t make these available, but I’ve documented my thought process, and provide the full spreadsheets on the blog. As always, corrections and suggestions are most welcome.

The analysis of course assumes that we could keep all instruments supplied with reagents, this is likely not the case for all instruments. But the NovaSeqs alone account for about two thirds of the total sequencing capacity, and I suspect Illumina are in a position to keep these fully stocked with reagents.

While 3 Exabases seems like a awful lot, it’s worth noting that this still isn’t enough to sequence every human born. Somewhere in the region of 4 children are born a second, so 70Gb/s wouldn’t let us even fully sequence only one of them (at 30x).

If we assume we can multiplex at most 384 samples per run, then we can potentially run 2 billion samples a year. Again, this seems like a lot, but according to some sources over 15 billion COVID tests have been performed over the course of the pandemic, with Abbott alone shipping 1.4 Billion tests.

So, if sequencing is eating the world, then there’s still a lot of room for growth.