UAE’s Group 42 and UK’s Oxford Nanopore Co-Develop Ultra-Scalable Solution for COVID-19 Detection
The end-to-end solution will enable screening in mass and on demand to support the re-opening of global economies.
Abu Dhabi; June 09, 2020: Group 42 (G42), a leading AI and Cloud Computing company based in the United Arab Emirates, and Oxford Nanopore Technologies, an advanced sequencing technology company based in the United Kingdom, announced today they have developed an unprecedented population-scale technology that rapidly and accurately detects SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The end-to-end solution will be officially launched within weeks.
With ultra-high parallel processing capacity, the new technology has the potential to transform the diagnostics industry globally. This innovation uses the LamPORE assay, which is based on the LAMP (loop-mediated isothermal amplification) technique and Oxford Nanopore’s rapid sequencing platform, in combination with the high-throughput automation, sample processing and reporting workflows developed by G42.
Population-wide testing can help break the transmission patterns of the virus, reducing the number of cases when used in conjunction with a rapid public health response. However, existing methods make such large-scale processing logistically difficult and cost-prohibitive. The end-to-end solution developed by G42 and Oxford Nanopore can dramatically reduce the complexity of mass screening.
This new solution based on the LamPORE assay is now being incorporated into the UAE national testing strategy. Over a ramp-up period in the G42 sequencing facility in Abu Dhabi, the program is expected to scale to hundreds of thousands of samples daily. In addition, the flexibility of the solution supports decentralized operations as well, enabling on-demand testing anytime, anywhere. G42 and Oxford Nanopore are working on the production capacity for the global deployment of this technology.
Peng Xiao, CEO of G42, said: “The collaboration with Oxford Nanopore, a global leader in advanced sequencing products, accelerates G42’s ongoing endeavor to develop impactful applications for public health. This breakthrough solution is a result of the tireless effort by our joint teams under the extraordinary pressure of COVID-19. The worst of the pandemic has brought out the best in us. We believe this capability will not only enable large-scale screening of SARS-CoV-2, but also fundamentally shift the paradigm on health diagnostics in general.”
Dr. Gordon Sanghera, CEO of Oxford Nanopore, noted: “Precise and cost-efficient population-scale testing is key to a responsible easing of restrictions, to protect the health of populations and supporting the re-opening of global economic activity. Rapid insights, scalability, and non-PCR dependence, all make a high-throughput screening capacity built on LamPORE technology the right tool for governments and organizations to implement mass-scale testing. We are confident that our partnership with G42 will allow us to successfully deploy this new technology around the world.”
The LamPORE assay can be performed on the extracted RNA from swabs, and it is also in development to work directly from saliva. Moreover, the LamPORE assay can be used to analyze environmental samples to assess the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus on surfaces, or in systems such as water and sewage treatment facilities.
This scientific and engineering collaboration between G42 and Oxford Nanopore was born out of a deep partnership between the two companies in conceptualizing, developing and optimizing sequencing capabilities to identify, track, trace and isolate COVID-19 cases and better prepare for future outbreaks.
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About Group 42
Based in Abu Dhabi, Group 42 (G42) is a leading Artificial Intelligence and Cloud Computing company, dedicated to the development and implementation of holistic and scalable technology solutions.
G42 is founded on three pillars: 1) fundamental and applied research in Artificial Intelligence 2) Cloud Computing capability for the most demanding use cases 3) high-impact industry solutions for such sectors as Healthcare, Smart City, Financial Services, Oil and Gas, Utilities, Education, Aviation and Hospitality.
G42 has an extensive global partnership network, connecting leading international organizations that share its vision and complement its ecosystem.
For further information on G42 visit www.g42.ai.
About Oxford Nanopore
Oxford Nanopore Technologies is behind the world’s only fully scalable sequencing technology. It offers direct, electronic, real-time sequencing of DNA/RNA fragments of any length, from short to ultra-long. The Company’s goal is to enable the analysis of any living thing, by anyone, anywhere.
Oxford Nanopore’s newest device -the PromethION 48 - can generate 7Tb of sequence data in a single run of its 48-flow cell device, making it the only device that can deliver long reads at a population scale. It supports all aspects of genetic discovery, including genome assembly, the analysis of larger genetic variants and direct methylation analysis – all of which are critical to understanding the breadth and depth of genetic diversity.
Oxford Nanopore also makes small, portable sequencing device - MinION /Flongle, which use the same core technology. Nanopore sequencing has the potential to unlock DNA analysis of all living things in decentralised environments such as clinics, farms and classrooms.
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- Roseanne Skinner