The Israel Ministry of Health and the Israel Innovation Authority, along with Sourasky (Ichilov) Medical Center and Rambam Health Care Campus in addition to a startup venture called Geneyx have formed a public-private consortium that will collect samples and sequence genomes from thousands of COVID-19 patients in an effort to identify protective and risk-bearing genetic factors with the aim of identifying new diagnostic and treatment methods. The startup offers next-generation sequencing data analysis, interpretation, reporting and storage products and services.
Led by Israeli Innovation Authority Funding
The Israeli Innovation Authority has invested about $838,500 for the project; another participant—BATM, a private firm in Israel is also offering to contribute funding but wouldn’t specific the amount. The total project budget is expected to exceed $1.5 million. The Israel Innovation Authority previously known as the Office of the Chief Scientist of Israel’s Ministry of Economy is the support arm of the Israeli government, charged with fostering the development of industrial R&D within the State of Israel.
Patient Data Collection
Of course, the collection of COVID-19 patient data in Israel must be done following the rules of informed consent, while protecting patient identifiable information reported Hagit Baris, director of the Genetic Institute and Genomic Center at Ichilov. Feldman stated, “This is a rare opportunity to thoroughly and consistently document clinical findings of thousands of patients and sequence their whole genome.”
The team will start with anomalies, such as cases involving healthy young people that wound up critically ill with COVID-19 or the elderly with minor symptoms that wind up in the hospital, reported Dvir Dahary, chief scientist at Geneyx.
Data Analysis using NovaSeq 6000 & other Tools
Genomeweb reports that this consortium will employ the power of Illumina’s NovaSeq 6000 and Dragen Whole Genome Pipeline to sequence COVID-19 patients. Additionally, the group will utilize the startup’s platform for documentation and standardization of sample collection as well as genomic data analysis and storage.
Computing Environment Powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Amazon Web Services is also contributing to this Israeli public-private consortium targeting COVID-19 with approximately $250,000 worth of cloud computing credits to the effort.
The Study Timeline
The study will run from now through June.
Who is Geneyx?
Founded in 2018, Geneyx create cloud-based environments that promote end to end solutions for secured genetic data resource with efficient processing, hence providing stakeholders with high grade global genetic and medical data. They have about 10 employees, and it is not clear if they have secured venture capital.
Hagit Baris, director of the Genetic Institute and Genomic Center at Ichilov