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Chinese CDC reaches out to young sequencing company for help with the coronavirus outbreak

Written by Tristan Free (Digital Editor)

In the latest update on the coronavirus outbreak, the Chinese Center for Disease Control (CDC) has sought the assistance of a DNA sequencing company, GenapSys, in tackling the coronavirus outbreak and determining a coronavirus sequence.

As the coronavirus continues to spread through China at an exponential rate, the importance of understanding the disease in greater genomic detail grows. Information regarding the disease’s infection pathways has already been obtained from the virus’s genome and is being studied by researchers at the NIH (MD, USA), as discussed in this previous article from BioTechniques. However, for research to progress fast enough to match the spread of the virus, as many labs as possible need the ability to sequence and analyze the virus and its genes.

In light of this fact, the Chinese CDC (Bejing, China) has recently reached out to a growing DNA sequencing company, GenapSys (CA, USA), for their assistance with the coronavirus outbreak and determining the coronavirus sequence.

CoronavirusDiagnosing coronavirus in the lab

With the coronavirus outbreak spreading, laboratory tests have been developed to allow prompt diagnosis.

How can GenapSys assist?

GenapSys has developed a sequencing product that is affordable, simple and – most importantly – 100-times smaller than standard sequencing systems. This makes the sequencer incredibly portable and accessible for a much greater number of laboratories.

The sequencer can be powered by everyday power sources and is reliable and hardy enough to endure rapid transport to the places that need it most. For more about the sequencer, its capabilities and development, you can read our interview with Founder and CEO Hesaam Esfandyarpour here.

Speaking to BioTechniques, Hesaam relayed that GenapSys are “currently in talks with the CDC to figure out the logistics around working together in this way and ironing out the next steps. While it is still early stage, our team is committed to supporting the efforts on the ground and assisting the global fight against the coronavirus.“

Highlighting the axiomatic importance of the device and its unique ability to assist in this situation, Hesaam proudly stated that, “our sequencer’s unparalleled portability and price make it uniquely suited for this kind of crisis response. Our device is small enough to fit in the back of a truck or be deployed at hospitals, airports, and public transportation hubs for quick results on virus samples.”