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Helix, Cue Health Partner on SARS-CoV-2 Variant Sequencing Study

NEW YORK — Population genomics firm Helix has signed an agreement with Cue Health to generate SARS-CoV-2 sequencing data for a study of individuals who test positive for the virus with Cue Health's at-home COVID-19 test, the companies said on Thursday.

Under the terms of the deal, people who test positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection with the Cue COVID-19 Test, which is authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration, will be able to opt into a virus variant sequencing study.

Study participants will receive a lower nasal swab self-collection kit and will return specimens for analysis with Helix's research-use-only variant sequencing test. Test results will be provided to them through the Cue Health App for their information only and are not to be used to guide medical decisions, Helix and Cue said.

The companies said that results of the sequencing study will help better understand pandemics and how they evolve, with the goal to improve pandemic readiness now and into the future. Cue will also upload SARS-CoV-2 sequences to the GISAID data sharing repository.

"Together with Helix, we can provide researchers with even more information about what type of viral strain a person might have, arming them with information to help prevent further viral spread within our communities," Cue cofounder and CEO Ayub Khattak said in a statement.

In January, San Mateo, California-based Helix began working with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to track the emergence and prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 strains in the US.

Last month, San Diego-based Cue partnered with Google Cloud to add respiratory viral variant sequencing and tracking to its Cue Integrated Care platform.

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