A French start-up, SeqOne, has teamed up with industrial leaders to offer a solution that will significantly increase national screening capacity.
SeqOne, a Montpellier start-up specializing in big data and genomics from deeptech, prides itself on having developed a solution that could well drastically improve the screening capacity of Covid-19, in proportions that can be 10 to 100 times greater than those available today. In its business, the start-up benefits from the support of industrialists and the government.
Mass screening necessary to anticipate a possible second wave
While the government has the ambition to carry out 100,000 tests per day by mid-May to better understand the process of deconfinement of the population and better be able to detect cases of coronavirus within the latter, the testing capacities will have to be even more important if we want to avoid the famous “Second wave”, synonymous with a rebound in the epidemic in France. For the time being, the most reliable tests use qPCR technology, which identifies the signature of the virus. However, this does not allow a large number of patients to be tested per machine.
The SeqOne start-up offers a whole new technical approach, a solution capable of exploiting the capabilities of the latest generation of very high speed genomic analysis devices. “This new generation of Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) combined with an innovative multiplexing technique now makes it possible to perform thousands of tests at a time”, predicts Hérault society.
A desire to industrialize tests
According to SeqOne, the new screening protocol could allow between 10 and 100 times more tests per machine than today. The icing on the cake is that the method would be more reliable and increase the quality of the tests, thanks to the measurement of viral load, which could strengthen national epidemiological monitoring.
This massive testing approach has successfully passed the stage of technical validation, whether in terms of multiplexing or detection of viral load. The start-up is now looking to industrialize these tests, so that they can be available throughout France. For this, it relies on its partnerships with medical test laboratories, public authorities but also OVHcloud, which guarantees it the sovereignty of its data via the HDS health data hosting offer, and on the support of the Ministry of Research and the Research Analysis and Expertise Committee (CARE), which the government has set up to mobilize the scientific community in the fight against the coronavirus.
Source: Press release