Metagenomics technology firm IDbyDNA has rolled out its Explify Respiratory test, which is capable of detecting Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) along with 900 other viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic pathogens.

Explify Respiratory is said to be a validated laboratory developed test (LDT) for respiratory pathogens, including human coronaviruses, and the test is currently offered by the company’s Salt Lake City lab.

IDbyDNA said that its research team has examined in-silico generated samples following the publication of the 2019-nCoV genome and computationally evaluated the capability of the test to detect 2019-nCoV and differentiate it from other human coronaviruses.

In addition, the company claimed that it has been coordinating with the public health authorities, including the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a national public health institute of the US, regarding suspected or confirmed 2019-nCoV infections.

Explify Respiratory test uses metagenomics to detect Coronavirus infection

The Explify platform has been designed as a next-generation sequencing (NGS)-based metagenomics, to achieve enhanced pathogen detection and profiling, compared to traditional PCR testing.

Metagenomics is believed to be more resistant to rapidly evolving pathogens, including many viruses, and is said to ensure the speedy adaptation of the test to emerging pathogens.

The company said that the coronavirus epidemic marks the second time in recent years, where it has quickly addressed an emerging health threat through its metagenomics, after the Zika virus epidemic in 2015.

IDbyDNA claimed that during the Zika virus epidemic, its team has worked with collaborators to identify the causal Zika viral strain of the first death in the US.

The company has developed and evaluated the Explify Respiratory to determine performance characteristics, but the test has not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. However, FDA approval is currently not required for clinical use.

IDbyDNA is engaged in developing transformative metagenomics technology to profile large volumes of microorganisms and pathogens in a given sample, along with identification and understanding of microorganisms and their role in human health.