US-based metagenomics analysis firm IDbyDNA has collaborated with ARUP Laboratories for the development and commercialisation of new next-generation sequencing (NGS) tests to detect infectious diseases.
The firms intend the tests to be more comprehensive, sensitive and accurate when compared to the existing standard tests that are limited to specific pathogens with a high chance of negative results.
To be developed based on IDbyDNA's clinical metagenomics software, the NGS tests are expected to provide comprehensive and accurate results with higher diagnostic yields and clinically acceptable turnaround times.
The software is powered by a DNA search engine called Taxonomer, which employs a combination of genome science and computer search technology for rapid identification of any microorganism through its genetic material.
The ability to perform tests for all infectious disease-causing organisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites with a single assay is anticipated to allow hypothesis-free diagnosis.
ARUP Laboratories CEO Dr Edgar Braendle said: “It is a perfect combination of ARUP's scientific and clinical laboratory expertise and IDbyDNA's expertise in metagenomics and data science.
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“Together, we are combining laboratory medicine with state-of-the-art genomics and computer science to bring precision medicine to infectious diseases."
As part of the collaboration, ARUP furnished its position and expertise in diagnostic test development, and provided access to its several pathogenic validation samples.
Through ARUP's established clinical network, the firms plan to launch their first NGS test for pneumonia caused by a previously undetected pathogen.