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Day Zero Diagnostics Wins $300K NIH Grant to Refine HAI Outbreak Analysis Service

NEW YORK — Infectious disease startup Day Zero Diagnostics last week received a $300,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to further develop its nanopore sequencing-based technology for the analysis of healthcare-associated infection (HAI) outbreaks.

Day Zero said that it will use the Phase I Small Business Innovation Research funding to integrate Oxford Nanopore Technologies' (ONT) ultra-long read genomic sequencing into its EpiXact service, in which it sequences and analyzes isolates sent from healthcare facilities to help determine the relationships between infections during a suspected outbreak. 

"Precision and speed are essential for identifying and controlling HAI outbreaks," Mohamad Sater, director of computational biology at Day Zero, said in a statement. "This award from the NIH will help accelerate the integration of ONT's ultra-long read genomic sequencing into our service and allow us to provide accurate decision-making information to infection control professionals faster than ever before."

Day Zero said that EpiXact can currently provide a determination of pathogen relatedness within two days. According to the grant's abstract, the addition of ultra-long read genomic sequencing into the service is expected to result in a 24-hour turnaround time.

In mid-2019, the Boston-based company received a $224,000 NIH grant to develop an algorithm used in the service.