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In Brief This Week: Centogene, Humana, Enzo Biochem, Todos Medical, and More

NEW YORK – Centogene said this week that it has partnered exclusively with Lufthansa and Fraport, the operator of Frankfurt Airport in Germany, to offer COVID-19 testing to passengers traveling on flights from Frankfurt Airport. Under the terms of the agreement, which also involves medical partner firm Dr. Peter Bauer Laboratoriums, passengers can get tested at a sampling center near the main terminal either the day before or the day of their departures. Tests for passengers arriving at the airport are currently in development. Results are delivered through a digital platform that is connected to the flight ticket.

According to Centogene’s website, the RT-PCR-based test costs €59 ($66) for a version that takes six to eight hours to turn around, and €139 for an express test with three hours’ turnaround time. For an additional €9, the company will issue a document verifying the identity of the person who took the test. The partnership is slated to last until July 31, 2021.

Humana this week announced the start of a pilot home-testing program for COVID-19 using Laboratory Corporation of America’s at-home sample collection kits. Humana members who have symptoms consistent with SARS-CoV-2 infection will be able to use the kits to collect nasal swab specimens at home for testing through the Pixel by LabCorp online platform. The self-collection kit received Emergency Use Authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration in April.

Humana also announced a collaboration with Walmart, Quest Diagnostics, and PWNHealth to offer plan members drive-through testing for the coronavirus at select Walmart Neighborhood Market drive-through pharmacies nationwide.

Enzo Biochem and Farmingdale State College said this week that they are partnering to provide molecular and antibody testing for COVID-19 to the campus community as the college reopens this summer and begins classes in the fall. The collaboration will operate under Enzo’s School and Institution Testing (SIT) Program to provide several pre-scheduled testing clinics onsite each month at the college. A campus member who needs to be tested immediately will be prioritized at Enzo’s clinical lab in Farmingdale. Testing will use Enzo’s AmpiProbe SARS-CoV-2 swab test and serological antibody (IgG) blood test. The company also plans to make additional testing, including expanded antibody (IgM, IgA) testing, available in the near term.

Todos Medical announced this week that it is partnering with Meridian Health Services Network to roll out COVID-19 testing programs across the US. Todos will supplement COVID-19 testing products and services for Meridian’s network of facilities. Meridian completed CLIA validation for Todos Medical’s antibody test. Both PCR and antibody tests will be available through the partnership.

Genomics England said this week that it is working with bioinformatics startup Lifebit and Amazon Web Services to create a research platform for research into COVID-19 data and analytics. This effort will include data from Genomics England's research partnership with the Genetics of Mortality in Critical Care (GenOMICC) consortium, the NHS, and Illumina to sequence as many as 20,000 genomes from patients currently or previously in intensive care due to SARS-CoV-2 and up to 15,000 patients who had mild or moderate symptoms.

The platform will later be made available for research on data into Genomics England's 100,000 Genomes Project in pursuit of new insights on cancer and rare diseases, the organization said.

Oncimmune said this week that its Brazilian distributor, Valentech International, obtained marketing authorization in that country for Oncimmune’s EarlyCDT Lung Blood test, an immunodiagnostic test for the early detection of lung cancer. The authorization came from Brazil’s Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária. Oncimmune and Valentech signed a distribution deal in 2018 covering Brazil and Colombia.

Netherlands-based Cergentis said this week that it has received an investment of an undisclosed amount from venture capital investment fund Novalis Biotech Incubation. The company has been developing target locus-amplification technology for cancer diagnostic tests.

The Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, Molbio Diagnostics, and the Indian Council of Medical Research announced this week that the World Health Organization has endorsed three of their rapid molecular Truenat assays for the initial diagnosis of tuberculosis and subsequent detection of rifampicin resistance in adults and children with signs and symptoms of pulmonary TB. Both Truenat MTB and Truenat MTB Plus detect Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria for TB diagnosis, while Truenat MTB-RIF Dx identifies resistance to rifampicin. All three tests are run on the portable, battery-operated PCR-based Truenat device and provide results in less than an hour, the organizations said. 

Sysmex America said this week that it has been awarded a contract by Vizient whose membership and customer base includes academic medical centers, pediatric facilities, community hospitals, integrated health delivery networks, and non-acute health care providers. The laboratory diagnostic products contract will offer Vizient members a full range of hematology analyzers, reagents, and service, Sysmex said.

In Brief This Week is a selection of news items that may be of interest to our readers but had not previously appeared on 360Dx.