Fulgent Genetics, Temple City, Calif, has launched a next-generation sequencing (NGS)-based test for covid-19. Fulgent’s test will be one of the market’s first diagnostic tests for the covid-19 virus based on NGS technology. Fulgent and MedScan Laboratory have begun accepting specimens for testing from healthcare providers, clinics, and reference labs.

Fulgent’s covid-19 test will be more comprehensive than the reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests now being authorized for marketing. Fulgent’s test will sequence the entire viral genome, creating hundreds of targets versus just a few for RT-PCR tests. In addition, Fulgent’s test will not be limited by a shortage of reagents—a difficulty that has proven to be a roadblock for large-scale processing of the RT-PCR based tests currently on the market. Fulgent estimates that its lab will have capacity to process thousands of samples per day.

MedScan Laboratories will collect samples on behalf of Fulgent, and will extract RNA for processing. Fulgent will sequence the viral genome, analyze samples, and provide comprehensive reports back to healthcare providers.

“The surge in cases of covid-19 in the United States and around the world has created an urgent need for accurate diagnostic testing solutions for the viral disease,” says Harry Gao, MD, PhD, DABMG, FACMD, chief scientific officer at Fulgent Genetics. “We believe our NGS-based test for covid-19 will arm healthcare providers with a better solution for accurately diagnosing cases of the disease. In addition, the virus mutation data we collect from this NGS-based test could be extremely valuable to researchers in the future to predict the clinical outcome and potentially develop treatment options and vaccines for this virus.”

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