Illumina launches first Covid-19 test to include genetic sequencing

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The FDA continues to wave through at pace new tests for Covid-19 under its emergency use programme. Last week saw the arrival of the first diagnostic to incorporate a genomic analysis of a patient’s specific viral infection, from diagnostics giant Illumina. It is generally accepted that only one strain of Sars-CoV-2 is circulating, and while several mutations have been identified none seem to have had any impact on virus biology or function. This could change, of course, and it will become only more crucial to closely monitor the virus as potential treatments and vaccines approach the market. As such, genetic sequencing of samples will allow researchers to identify and track any mutations that the virus might undergo. The Illumina COVIDSeq test is run on the company’s next-generation sequencing system, NovaSeq 6000, and can deliver results within 24 hours, the company said; each run can accommodate just over 3,000 samples. Illumina said that availability is limited at the moment, although wider roll out will happen over the summer.

Note: "Other" includes one antigen test, one home sampling kit and one IL-6 test.

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