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Illumina Donates Sequencing Consumables, Cloud-Based Bioinformatics to Canadian COVID-19 Projects

NEW YORK – Illumina said on Wednesday that it is providing in-kind support for Canada's nationwide COVID-19 genome sequencing initiatives.

The San Diego-based genomic analysis firm is providing sequencing reagents and consumables, as well as cloud-based data management and analysis to the efforts, a company spokesperson said in an email.

The donations will support the HostSeq and VirusSeq projects of Canada's COVID-19 Genomics Network, or CanCoGeN. HostSeq plans to sequence the genomes of up to 10,000 patients diagnosed or affected by COVID-19. VirusSeq coordinates and funds viral genome sequencing efforts and supports the sharing of more than 260,000 SARS-CoV-2 genomes sequenced to date.

"For HostSeq so far, we’ve provided approximately 20 percent of the needed sequencing kits in kind as well as substantial informatics support for data analysis and management," Nicole Berry, Illumina's general manager for the Americas, said in an email. "For VirusSeq, there was an urgent need to sequence 150,000 viral genomes. We provided workflow support and [made an] in-kind contribution of approximately 50 percent of the sequencing to ensure its ability to commence quickly and effectively. As these programs expand, we will continue to partner with Canada's public health agencies and research community to help enable the success of their genomics initiatives."

HostSeq will use the Illumina Connected Analytics bioinformatics software platform, deployed on the Amazon Web Services cloud, to move and analyze datasets generated in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.

"We are proud to support and contribute to the work being done by the Canadian research community to better understand the role of human genetics in COVID-19 susceptibility," Alex Aravanis, Illumina's chief technology officer, said in a statement. "The data being shared within the HostSeq community, powered by cloud-based informatics, will help inform and accelerate the fight against COVID-19."