Ares Genetics will use next-generation sequencing technology from the Chinese genomics company BGI Group to track and control the spread of a new coronavirus originating in China.
A new strain of coronavirus, dubbed 2019-nCoV and originating in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has caused widespread concern in recent weeks. While only 20% of people with the virus have shown serious symptoms, such as pneumonia, the virus has never been seen before in humans, and it has recently spread to Europe.
In response to the arrival of 2019-nCoV in Europe, BGI Group has teamed up with the Vienna-based Ares Genetics. From February onwards, Ares Genetics will use next-generation sequencing technology from BGI to monitor the evolution of 2019-nCoV, which could aid epidemiological studies and help to control the spread of the virus.
In addition, Ares Genetics and its parent company Curetis Group will help to distribute BGI’s molecular tests for 2019-nCoV to laboratories across Europe. The tests use next-generation sequencing and polymerase chain reaction techniques to identify the virus by its DNA.
“The ability to rapidly test for 2019-nCoV with polymerase chain reaction as well as track its evolution by next-generation sequencing is key to contain this global outbreak,” stated Andreas Posch, CEO of Ares Genetics.
Ares Genetics develops AI-powered genomics technology to identify bacteria that are susceptible to particular antibiotics. This latest collaboration is part of the company’s ongoing efforts to expand its technology to include viruses. By including viruses in its databases, the company aims to develop tests that can easily distinguish between infections caused by bacteria and those by viruses, which are not affected by antibiotics.
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