Covid-19: Polish startup genXone with new virus sequencing method
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A new SARS-CoV-2 sequencing method has helped detect a Delta variant that could not be identified using older NGS technology. Currently, Polish startup genXone is using the latest technology in the field of diagnostics, thanks to which approximately 70% of coronaviruses in Poland are being sequenced.
As Professor Jakub Swadźba, President of Diagnostyka SA and a member of the Management Board of Employers of Private Medicine, points out, the pandemic has influenced the accelerated development of diagnostic technologies, especially those related to molecular biology. In the past, DNA sequencing was an expensive and time-consuming process, and thanks to NGS, diagnosticians can carry it out within a few hours. The cost of such sequencing ranges from about USD 200 to USD 1,000.
Without advances in viral genetics, the discovery of the Delta variant would most likely not have happened. Professor Swadźba emphasises that it was in Poland that a new variant of coronavirus was identified for the first time in the world, and the innovative method of nanopore sequencing contributed to this.
Startup genXone uses innovative technology
As the President of Diagnostyka SA explains, the discovery of the delta variant would not have been possible using older NGS technology. The delta variant is missing about 1,000 nucleotides, and the identification of these deficiencies is possible only by scanning very large fragments of DNA. This was made possible by a new method that makes use of a magnetic field, allowing the DNA network to pass through a special pore and be inflected. Professor Swadźba, who is also vice-president of the genXone start-up, points out that the new sequencing technology was developed in the UK, but it was genXone that introduced the solution to the Polish market. Currently, thanks to the new method, about 70% of coronaviruses in Poland are being sequenced.
The company is a commercial partner of Oxford Nanopore Technologies and has launched the first licensed laboratory in Poland that uses nanopore sequencing technology. The laboratory allows the new method to be used in various fields, including science, business and medicine.
Will the development of laboratory diagnostics support cancer patients?
Professor Swadźba also adds that thanks to advances in technologies used in laboratory diagnostics, it is possible to improve cancer detection. This is due to the development of genetic testing, which in turn is associated with personalised medicine. Studying special genes makes it possible to apply innovative therapies that are tailored to the individual needs of cancer patients.