Genuity Science Provides Free Genomic Sequencing to Scientists Participating in COVID-19 Research

Genuity Science announced today that it is supporting scientists in Ireland who are participating in global research efforts into COVID-19 coronavirus which has so far killed over 200,000 people across the world.

Genuity, with support from Illumina Cambridge Ltd, will assist research institutions by sequencing genomes free of charge from study participants infected with coronavirus across Ireland.

This support will be provided to researchers working to identify protective and risk-bearing genetic factors for COVID-19 and who are sharing their consented anonymized datasets with other authorized researchers through EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) European Genome-phenome Archive (EGA) database. The Clinical Research Facility at St James’s Hospital, which is collaborating with researchers in Trinity College Dublin (TCD), is among the initial research facilities participating in these international efforts.

The EGA is a permanent archive that promotes the distribution and sharing of genetic and phenotypic data for specific uses approved by the researchers contributing the data, but not fully open, public distribution.  Authorized access to the data will be managed by the EGA and in this way, Ireland will join the global effort to understand the clinical correlations of COVID-19. No samples or datasets are retained by Genuity Science.

Research institutions undertaking genomic research into COVID-19 can contact Genuity Science directly to avail of Genuity’s support.

Dr Anne Jones of Genuity Science (Ireland) Ltd. (formerly known as Genomics Medicine Ireland) said: “Given the scale of the pandemic and the need to quickly improve our understanding of COVID-19, we felt it was critical to offer support immediately to researchers and research institutes in Ireland. By rapidly sequencing genomes, Genuity Science hopes to enhance Irish and international research efforts to accelerate what is known about an individual’s response to COVID-19 infection. Such research may lead to the development of new diagnostics and vaccines that will save lives.”

Professor Martina Hennessy, Director of the HRB Clinical Research Facility at St. James’s Hospital said: “COVID-19 is a lethal global pandemic which has led to unprecedented levels of collaboration between nations and between the public and private sectors across the world. This approach balances supporting global research efforts while also supporting local investigators with truly novel approaches to COVID-19 research and trials. Research resources are focused towards reducing COVID mortality and morbidity as soon as possible.”

Thomas Keane, Team Leader of the EGA at EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute said:  “Rapid and open sharing of data can greatly accelerate research and discovery, which is essential at this time to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re deploying our resources to support comprehensive data sharing of available research data from different sources across global research communities. We believe Irish research efforts will greatly enhance the potential for global discovery at this critical time.”

Paula Dowdy, Senior Vice President & General Manager, EMEA, Illumina, said: “Genome sequencing has been able to help fight the coronavirus pandemic in many ways including development of the PCR test, revealing targets for vaccine and antiviral development and for surveillance to drive public health measures. It’s also key to help identify the genetic factors that underpin why some people fare so badly from the infection while others do not, just as researchers in Ireland will do now, because this will contribute to the development of urgently needed treatments for the disease.”