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Illumina Launches Global Health Access Initiative to Accelerate Pathogen Sequencing in LMIC Countries

Written by : Nikita Saha

November 16, 2023

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Reportedly, the pricing for its sequencing instruments and consumables can vary by country or region. However, the biotech company, in accordance with guidance from customers, funders, and market facilitators, will provide discounted prices for a range of sequencing applications.

Illumina Inc, a global leader in DNA sequencing has launched the Global Health Access Initiative to support access to pathogen sequencing tools for public health in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

In line with this initiative, Illumina will provide pathogen sequencing tools to qualified global health funding entities and address key international logistics and supply chain challenges. The program is expected to start soon depending on the logistics and supply chain management.

Reportedly, the pricing for its sequencing instruments and consumables can vary by country or region. However, the biotech company, in accordance with guidance from customers, funders, and market facilitators, will provide discounted prices for a range of sequencing applications.

Its range of advanced tools 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.

Vanessa Moeder, head of global health, Illumina, said "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. 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."

WHO recognises the essential role of pathogen sequencing in global preparedness for emerging threats and understanding the molecular epidemiology of outbreaks. Especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, the organisation emphasised how sequencing can assist in managing endemic diseases, including drug-resistant tuberculosis.

Expressing her views, Toni Whistler, general health scientist, US Centers for Disease Control, detailee, the Global Fund, said, "The ability to monitor and diagnose diseases swiftly and accurately, without leaving vulnerable populations behind, is fundamental to our collective preparedness in the face of global health crises. The equitable access program developed and operationalised by Illumina will allow many low- and middle-income nations to participate in the future of genomics across public health and preparedness."

American biotechnology company Illumina, Inc was founded by David Walt, Larry Bock, John Stuelpnagel, Anthony Czarnik, and Mark Chee in the year 1998. The company is a global leader in DNA sequencing and array-based technologies, serving customers in the research, clinical, and applied markets. It aims to improve human health by unlocking the power of the genome.

In another similar event, Redcliffe Labs partnered with RGCB to boost genomics research in India. This partnership aims to introduce advanced genomics technologies to the southern part of India, making these resources more accessible and efficient. Technologies such as 10X Chromium, Illumina Novaseq, Nanopore Gridion, and other associated infrastructures will be incorporated, streamlining the processing and analysis of genetic samples.


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