Illumina Inc. and its partner, IDbyDNA Inc., are introducing a new test that can tell if someone is infected with Covid-19, the flu or another respiratory disease.
The testing panel will use Illumina’s next-generation sequencing, the same technology used for the human genome, and will test for almost 300 pathogens. IDbyDNA provides the bioinformatics software to analyze the data. The test, called Respiratory Pathogen ID/AMR Target Enrichment Panel, will be made available for research purposes only. If there are plans to expand into commercial markets, the companies are keeping them under wraps for now.
More widespread testing could be the key to ending the pandemic. To that end, the Food and Drug Administration has given emergency use authorizations to hundreds of tests for active cases of the disease as well as for antibody testing. But this fall could bring a new wrinkle, a resurgence in Covid cases as well as the seasonal flu, which scientists warn could become a “twindemic.”
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