Microfluidic MEMS aid rapid Covid-19 sequencing

Microfluidic MEMS aid rapid Covid-19 sequencing

Technology News |
By Peter Clarke

MGI, is part of the BGI Group, the world’s leading supplier of genomic sequencing services, also based in Shenzhen.

Sequencing technology is critical to identifying mutations of viruses and tracking the spread of infections through a population. Under emergency measures introduced to address the Covid-19 pandemic China’s National Medical Products Administration has approved the use of MGI’s DNBSEQ-T7 high-throughput DNA sequencing system for Covid-19 applications.

The DNBSEQ-T7, which started shipping in 2019, has been described as a life science supercomputer. The DNBSEQ-T7 is the highest throughput DNA sequencer yet developed. It is the first four-chip sequencing platform capable of generating 6Tbytes of data per day, and completing up to 60 whole human genomes per day.

The coronavirus genome is based on RNA rather than DNA but the DNBSEQ-T7 can be used for sequencing-based Covid-19 detection and identification of potential anti-viral agents and vaccines.

MGI has a manufacturing plant in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the Covid-19 outbreak, where MGI developed its NMPA-approved DNBSEQ-T7 sequencing systems.

Skywater said it has been working for MGI for several years and has supplied microfluidic MEMS flowcells to its parent BGI. This component is now the basis for one of the consumbles in the sequencing kit for the DNBSEQ-T7 system.

Next: US testing

MGI is also providing automated sample preparation systems to labs to increase capacity and support widespread and rapid testing in the US, SkyWater said.

“As concerns rise about the coronavirus global pandemic, the pressure is on to enable even faster, more accessible testing. We are pleased to be working with genomics leader MGI and playing a role as a US manufacturer in cutting-edge technology solutions that are making an important contribution to the detection of COVID-19,” said Thomas Sonderman, president of SkyWater, in a statement.

“Products from MGI and its affiliates are ready for international delivery to assist the global efforts in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, a number of which have already been sent to other countries,” said Yongwei Zhang, BGI Group vice president, in the same statement.

SkyWater is certified to the ISO 13485 quality standard for medical devices to support the design, development and fabrication of DNA sequencing and other biochip applications in a wide range of emerging biomedical market segments.

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