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ARM Innovation Hub
24 September, 2020 - 23:44 By Tony Quested

Congenica advances COVID-19 research

Congenica, the Cambridge digital health company enabling rapid and accurate analysis of complex genomic data, has launched a new module for its genomic analysis platform that will accelerate research into the relationship between an individual’s genomic variation and COVID-19 susceptibility, severity, and clinical outcomes.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 global pandemic outbreak, the global research community has united in an unprecedented effort to understand the causes, progression, treatment, and prevention of the disease. 

Initial studies indicate a variety of factors – socioeconomics, pre-existing medical conditions and genetics all play their part.

Research studies are providing evidence of the importance of specific variations in host genes related to SARS-CoV-2 viral entry, viral replication, and immune response.

By applying expertise to a thorough review of the most up-to-date research, Congenica has carefully curated genes that have high-confidence relationships with coronavirus infection and replication progression and subsequent immune response and severity.

The launch of the Congenica COVID-19 module, available within the company’s genomic analysis software platform, will enable researchers to focus analysis on the host genetics that underpin COVID-19 infection using high-quality sets of relevant genes. 

The module also allows investigators to prioritise variants in curated genes using COVID-19-related Human Phenotype Ontology terms such as loss of smell or dry cough and to include information about viral strain or treatment regimen, incorporating the latest findings from the growing scientific literature to aid research.

Congenica software is used throughout the UK NHS as the exclusive rare disease Clinical Decision Support Platform for the first-in-the-world national Genomic Medicine Service and internationally by private and public hospitals and laboratories, where the software reduces average interpretation costs by up to 95 per cent and helps researchers obtain genetic information 20-times faster than previously possible.

Dr Nick Lench, chief scientific officer at Congenica said: “Congenica COVID-19 has been developed to meet the pressing need to enable the research community to interrogate key sets of host genes implicated in susceptibility, infection and progression of COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2.

“The new module will help researchers in their work to identify effective treatments and improve clinical outcomes.”

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