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September 15, 2021

Coronavirus company news summary – University of Queensland researcher obtains grant to develop rapid test – Jumpcode Genomics partners with TGen for SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequencing

By Chloe Kent

Cepheid has secured Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the use of its Xpert Xpress CoV-2/Flu/RSV plus, a rapid molecular test to qualitatively identify Covid-19, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza A and B infections in a single sample. The test offers a third gene target when processing SARS-CoV-2 virus in order to address viral mutations in the future. It can be used with Cepheid’s GeneXpert Systems and provides results in around 36 minutes.

University of Queensland virologist Dr Kirsty Short has received a AU$1.37m grant from the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHRMC). The money will be used to support research into a genetic marker or ‘signature’ in Covid-19 patients. The marker will be leveraged for the new test to identify the viral genetic material earlier than standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR) diagnostics. In addition, the project will involve research on anti-viral therapies that can target several viruses.

Jumpcode Genomics has collaborated with the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) to use CRISPRclean technology to sequence the genome of SARS-CoV-2 and detect and track variants. The companies are working to establish solutions and clinical services that use meta-genomic sequencing and analysis to enable the identification of Covid-19 and various other infectious diseases. TGen researchers are currently analysing Covid-19 samples that were already assessed with PCR tests to check the metagenomic diagnostic’s sensitivity and specificity versus standard PCR-based testing.

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