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Illumina to Offer Lower Prices on Pathogen Sequencing for Public Health in Lower-Income Countries

NEW YORK – Illumina said on Monday that it has launched a program to provide lower pricing for pathogen sequencing tools for public health in low- and middle-income countries.

The Global Health Access Initiative will provide reduced pricing for certain products to "qualified global health funding entities." Targeted applications include drug resistance profiling in tuberculosis, whole-genome sequencing of emerging and reemerging viruses to monitor virus evolution and support outbreak response, broad respiratory pathogen detection for influenza-like illness surveillance, wastewater and other environmental surveillance applications to track pathogens, and antimicrobial resistances at the population level.

Financial details associated with the program were not disclosed.

"Significant sequencing capacity was built up globally during the pandemic to identify, track, and monitor variants, capacity which should be leveraged to help combat multiple health challenges. Initiatives such as this are critical to help improve affordability and access to genomics in low- and middle-income countries, to ensure that every country can benefit from the technology in a scalable and sustainable manner for routine use," Anita Suresh, head of genomics and sequencing at the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) said in a statement.

To simplify budgeting and procurement, key components for these applications will be available as single-part-number combination kits encompassing library preparation reagents, sequencing reagents, and data analysis tools, Illumina said in a statement.

"We know that enabling countries to perform pathogen sequencing locally strengthens health systems, enables better preparedness, and empowers countries to manage their priority health threats," Vanessa Moeder, head of global health at Illumina, said in a statement. "It also avoids costly and time-consuming shipment of samples abroad and leads to faster response times. We cannot lose time preparing for the next pandemic, and adoption of pathogen genomic surveillance in every country allows us to get ahead of infectious threats."

The program launch comes less than a week after Illumina reported that COVID-19 surveillance revenues in the third quarter fell to about $4 million from $28 million a year ago.