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Ethos Labs, Agena Biosciences Partner on SARS-CoV-2 Variant Identification

NEW YORK—Ethos Laboratories said on Tuesday that it is partnering with Agena Biosciences to use Agena's MassArray MALDI-TOF platform for high-throughput detection of SARS-CoV-2 variants.

Newport, Kentucky-based Ethos said that the platform will allow it to simultaneously detect and identify variants in samples and report identified variants in as little as six hours with lower cost and higher throughput than next-generation sequencing methods.

San Diego-based Agena's MassArray SARS-CoV-2 Variant Panel allows for detection of 20 SARS-CoV-3 genetic markers via RT-PCR and MALDI mass spec, and enables detection of the SARS-CoV-2 Wuhan, UK, South African, Brazil, Cluster 5 Mink and D614G variants.

"Our strategic partnership with Agena stems from the mutual understanding that NGS technologies, while crucial for variant discovery, are not amenable to the necessary high-throughput demands of daily COVID-19 testing worldwide," Joshua Gunn, chief scientific officer for Ethos R&D, said in a statement.

"Agena is proud to work with partners such as Ethos Laboratories to offer a truly differentiated solution to address the ongoing crisis of COVID-19," said Agena CEO Peter Dansky. "As new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus emerge there is a need to support the increasing demand for molecular laboratories to discriminate these variants in a high-throughput, cost-effective, time-sensitive manner and we feel the MassArray System is the perfect tool for that."

Agena received FDA Emergency Use Authorization in October for its MassArray SARS-CoV-2 Panel for detection of the virus.