Ethos Laboratories launches high-throughput SARS-CoV-2 variant assay to monitor emerging coronavirus mutations.

Ethos Laboratories (PRNewsfoto/Ethos Laboratories)

Ethos Laboratories

NEWPORT, Ky., April 5, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Ethos Laboratories®, a national leader in laboratory testing, has announced the validation of a high-throughput molecular test for the detection of key SARS-CoV-2 virus strains, including the UK (B.1.1.7), South Africa (B.1.351), Brazil (P.1) variants. These variants have been estimated to account for 40 percent of new infections in certain areas of the United States, making their accurate detection critical for ongoing public health strategies. Ethos is one of the first clinical laboratories to validate a high-throughput testing solution for the detection of emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants.

Current genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 variants is conducted using gene-sequencing technologies which are not amendable to high-throughput testing; the CDC indicates that the time required to sequence a sample and submit findings into public databases is approximately 10 days. While such sequencing technologies will be critical for identifying new SARS-CoV-2 variants as they emerge worldwide, there is a significant need for high-throughput technologies capable of accurately detecting known or existing variants. Rapid acquisition of variant data is critical to better understand the transmissibility of variants as well as their impact on vaccine efficacy. Scientific leadership at Ethos saw an opportunity to utilize their novel mass spectrometry platform for existing variant detection which would facilitate high-throughput, rapid testing.

Ethos Laboratories Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization-Time Of Flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry method allows for the analysis of up to 15,000 samples per day with results available in as little as 6 hours. “We hope to provide insight into variant frequency on a large scale to support ongoing national surveillance efforts led by the CDC and its SPHERES consortium” said Joshua Gunn, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer for Ethos Research & Development.

All three variants included in Ethos’ novel high-throughput test offering are classified as variants of concern by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This classification is only assigned when there is sufficient evidence that the variant in question exhibits increased transmissibility, induces more severe disease (increased hospitalizations or deaths), reduces the neutralization capacity of antibodies generated during previous infection or vaccination, or reduces the effectiveness of treatments, vaccines, or diagnostic detection accuracy.

“As we continue to apply selective pressure on this virus through global vaccination efforts, identification and rapid detection of novel variants will be critical to ongoing public health efforts,” said Gunn. “Ethos has showcased its innovative approach to life science since the beginning of this pandemic and we feel very strongly that robust and rapid testing technologies for the detection of known variants will play a key role in the ongoing fight against COVID 19.”

About Ethos Laboratories

Ethos Laboratories is a clinical diagnostic laboratory located in Newport, Kentucky, dedicated to improving the lives of patients suffering with pain, providing personalized diagnostic services through cutting-edge testing and continuous innovation. Turn-around is among the fastest in the industry, presenting novel levels of transparency, honesty, excellence, and integrity in the laboratory industry. The company focuses on providing excellent quality, service, and support for every customer, and the highest standards for accuracy and efficiency. The laboratory has created innovative tools, resources, and processes that have improved provider insight into sources of pain, increased understanding of medication compliance and management, and fuels the pursuit of continuous improvement including launching a telehealth integration platform.

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