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Ginkgo Bioworks Partners With Ukraine on Wastewater Testing; CDC on Flu Monitoring

NEW YORK – Gingko Bioworks said on Tuesday that it is collaborating with the Ukraine Ministry of Health's Public Health Center on wastewater testing.

Separately, the firm said it is helping the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention monitor influenza viruses at airports.

Ginkgo will provide the Ukraine Ministry of Health and other public health authorities with continuous data on pathogens like SARS-CoV-2 and influenza in order to inform decisions to help reduce the infectious disease burden on the Ukrainian population and healthcare infrastructure.

In preparation for launching the planned pilot this winter, Concentric, Ginkgo's biosecurity subsidiary, will coordinate with a Ukraine-based partner to design and manage program operations in selected urban centers.

"The current crisis in Ukraine and the targeted destruction of its healthcare infrastructure underscore the need for rapid biosecurity response capabilities that can be deployed globally," said Matt McKnight, general manager of biosecurity at Ginkgo Bioworks. "Ginkgo recognizes the urgency around establishing an early warning system for pathogens that can help mitigate the strain that infectious disease can cause in vulnerable settings."

The announcements come a week after Ginkgo announced that it would meet its full-year 2022 revenue guidance on the strength of biosecurity revenues as cell engineering revenues fell short of expectations.

The Ukraine collaboration follows several other global biosecurity deals for Ginkgo. In 2022, the firm inked memoranda of understanding with Botswana and Rwanda to implement biosecurity capabilities.

Ginkgo and the CDC have been monitoring COVID-19 in volunteer travelers at some of the largest airports across the US since August 2021. In August 2022, Ginkgo and its commercial partners received a $16 million contract to expand the COVID-19 surveillance program. The program will now test samples for influenza A and B, as well as SARS-CoV-2.