Illumina’s Unique Next-Generation Sequencing Approach Allows for Widespread, Fast, and Accurate Covid-19 testing

Illumina is a San Diego-based company with a unique Next-Generation Sequencing approach that allows for widespread, fast, and accurate Covid-19 testing across the nation. 

Illumina is a San Diego-based genomics company that has created a “MegaLab” for scaled-up, next-gen Covid-19 testing using genomic sequencing. To date, the company has received over $12 million in funding from the NIH. Originally founded as a startup, Illumina set out to transform human health and explore DNA at an entirely new scale. Prior to the outbreak of Covid-19, Illumina was exploring concepts like the cause of cancer and genetic variations. The company’s key mission statements include Driving Innovation, Finding Answers, Making a Difference Now, and Empowering a Healthy Future. 

Francis deSouza, CEO

Illumina’s COVIDSeq approach to Covid-19 testing involves a high-throughput capacity with the potential to handle up to 48,000 tests per day.  Results are delivered with 24 hours using a method known as Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS). This approach aims to address some of the key weaknesses of normal PCR testing. Speaking about PCR, Illumina VP Gary Schroth explained: “It doesn’t tell you anything about the genetic sequence of the virus, the presence of co-infection, or any information about the patient’s immune response.” 

Illumina claims on its website that its technology is being used by scientists and researchers in over 10,000 labs across 115 different countries. Illumina aims to expand with not only new testing infrastructure but also potential therapies and vaccines in the future. 

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