Diagnostic start Identity genomics The development of rapid tests for COVID-19 virus variants will be accelerated through new grants from the National Institutes of Health.
This Seattle-based company Announce On Tuesday, a small business grant of $300,000 was provided for a dipstick-based test (currently known as CovNET). ID Genomics is also eligible for follow-up grants of up to $3 million.
Most virus tests simply provide a “yes” or “no” answer to whether someone is infected. ID Genomics’ prototype test can also distinguish which variants an individual has infected, and can be completed within two hours.
This is faster than the gold standard method, which involves sequencing the virus’s genome to detect mutations.According to the co-founder of ID Genomics, some existing quick tests can also choose one or several variants, but CovNET stands out by distinguishing dozens of variants Yevgeny Sokulenko.
Sokurenko co-founded ID Genomics in 2014, with the goal of combining epidemiological surveillance, bioinformatics, and molecular diagnosis. This six-person company provides various services to identify different microorganisms and their subtypes.
In addition to developing CovNET rapid tests, ID Genomics will also launch next-day sequencing services for variants in the next few weeks.Researchers Demonstrated their sequencing method In a recent study of a variant that emerged in California.
But Sokurenko, who is also a professor of microbiology at the University of Washington, said the new two-hour test may eventually be easier to deploy and may be cheaper, helping to monitor current and emerging mutations in “real time”. The University of Washington is an academic partner of the grant.
Sokulenko said that easy detection of mutations may “help to closely monitor pandemic dynamics, virus evolution and spread, as well as timely detection and containment of local outbreaks.” In addition, better detection can also support the development of each version of the virus. treatment method.
New mutations continue to emerge, and highly contagious delta mutations now dominate the United States and many other countries.The World Health Organization has identified three other “Worrying variant.” As we all know, these variants are more annoying than the original version of the virus, for example, it is easier to spread or make people sick.
ID Genomics aims to provide an easy-to-use test that can be quickly deployed in epidemiological surveillance laboratories around the world. CovNET’s Sokurenko said: “As the stars gather, we may start selling test kits within a few months.” “Affordability is the goal,” he added.
The prototype CovNET test uses a technique called PCR to identify variants, which appear as bands on the bands. The position and intensity of the bands can identify the main variation in the sample. Each double-sided strip in the test can identify up to 24 variations, and more variations can be detected with more strips.
The company is also developing a smartphone app to quickly decode bands and identify their corresponding variants.
CovNET uses technology components built by Bothell in Washington State IEH laboratory Used for other types of tests. The IEH laboratory also cooperated with ID Genomics to develop a pocket-sized “nanocycler” to incubate samples. The battery-powered device can perform rapid heating and cooling cycles during the PCR part of the test, thereby amplifying the genetic material of the virus.
The new grant will enable startups to optimize prototype testing and validate it on a large number of clinical samples. ID Genomics is also working to develop manufacturing and distribution agreements.
Have a Growth pool Diagnostic tests for COVID-19, many of which are tracked by Seattle-based PATH. The new tests include a home-based PCR test to detect viruses from Amazon, and a test developed by Seattle-based Adaptive Biotechnologies in collaboration with Microsoft that can also determine whether you have been infected with the virus in the past.
However, tests that can monitor variants more effectively are needed.Washington State currently Sequencing is close to 20% The number of mutant virus samples, but this is more than most states and many national laboratories.