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In Brief This Week: Ginkgo Bioworks, Novacyt, Viome, and More

NEW YORK – Ginkgo Bioworks this week said it is collaborating with Quest Diagnostics to provide COVID-19 testing for grades K-12 to support in-class learning nationwide. The Boston-based firm noted that Quest can perform 300,000 COVID-19 molecular tests daily through its network of two dozen COVID-19 testing labs, while Ginkgo's Concentric by Ginkgo platform allows schools to sign up for testing, secure data management, order supplies, integrate follow-up testing regimes, and provide support services. Concentric serves about 1,000 schools across the US, and Ginkgo has similar collaborations with other labs providing COVID-19 testing including Dascena LabsOlive Labs, and CQentia.

Novacyt said this week it will donate 1 million of its COVID-19 PCR tests to UNICEF to contain the spread of SARS-CoV-2. The donation will help the organization work with governments to fill in gaps in COVID-19 testing, Novacyt said, adding it will send its test kits to countries with a need and the infrastructure to conduct PCR-based testing. The first four countries that have expressed an interest are Nigeria, Palestine, the Maldives, and South Sudan. Novacyt received CE marking for its next-generation, high-throughput PCR test for COVID-19, COVID-HT Direct, in February.

Viome said this week that its newly developed, saliva-based oral and throat cancer detection technology has been designated a Breakthrough Device by the Food and Drug Administration. The test uses the firm's proprietary mRNA analysis technology and AI platform to detect cancer-associated signals that reflect the interaction between microbial activity and human gene expression.

Early cancer detection diagnostic company Cleveland Diagnostics announced this week that its CLIA-certified reference laboratory received laboratory accreditation from the College of American Pathologists. CAP Accreditation is awarded to labs that meet strict requirements and maintain high standards of accuracy, quality, and consistency. It includes a site inspection with examination of the lab’s records, quality control procedures for the previous two years, lab staff qualifications, equipment, facilities, safety program and record, and overall management.

Danaher announced this week that its board has approved a regular quarterly cash dividend of $.21 per share of its common stock, payable on July 30 to shareholders of record on June 25. The board also approved a quarterly cash dividend of $11.88 per share of its 4.75 percent Series A Mandatory Convertible Preferred Stock and a quarterly cash dividend of $12.50 per share of its 5 percent Series B Mandatory Convertible Preferred Stock, both payable on July 15 to shareholders of record on June 30.

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

The Scan

Guidelines for Ancient DNA Work

More than two dozen researchers have developed new ethical guidelines for conducting ancient DNA research, which they present in Nature.

And Cleared

A UK regulator has cleared former UK Prime Minister David Cameron in concerns he should have registered as a consultant-lobbyist for his work with Illumina, according to the Financial Times.

Suit Over Allegations

The Boston Globe reports that David Sabatini, who was placed on leave from MIT after allegations of sexual harassment, is suing his accuser, the Whitehead Institute, and the institute's director.

Nature Papers on Esophageal Cancer, Origin of Modern Horses, Exome Sequencing of UK Biobank Participants

In Nature this week: genetic and environmental influences of esophageal cancer, domestic horse origin traced to Western Eurasian steppes, and more.