Oxford Nanopore Technologies announces advanced development of LamPORE, for rapid, highly scalable, low-cost COVID-19 detection

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LamPORE is designed for COVID-19 detection in both high-throughput labs or decentralised locations.

Oxford Nanopore Technologies is in advanced development of a new generation of end-to-end test (assay) for the detection of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

The LamPORE assay is designed to be rapid, low cost, and scalable to cater to on-demand analysis of smaller sample numbers, to very large numbers of samples. Hardware and reagents sit outside current, squeezed supply chains for other molecular tests.

LamPORE is based on Oxford Nanopore’s DNA/RNA sequencing technology, in combination with a simple, sample-preparation method (loop-mediated isothermal amplification, plus Oxford Nanopore’s ‘rapid kit’). It seeks to understand whether a sample currently contains the SARS-CoV-2 virus (rather than detecting antibodies that may indicate a previous infection).

Since the first emergence of the virus, Oxford Nanopore’s rapid, portable sequencing technology has been used extensively for COVID-19 epidemiology and scientific research.

LamPORE is the first assay that the Company has developed in-house with intended use in diagnostic applications, subject to relevant authorisations that the Company is currently pursuing. Oxford Nanopore is planning to deploy LamPORE for COVID-19 in a regulated setting initially on GridION and soon after on the portable MinION Mk1C.

The LamPORE protocol will also be made openly available for research use on any Oxford Nanopore device.

Oxford Nanopore’s vision is to support wide efforts to identify, track, trace and isolate cases. LamPORE is designed to enable rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2, whether in a high-throughput centralised lab processing thousands of samples, or for on-demand analysis in decentralised locations, so that analysis can be performed in more community settings.
LamPORE is designed to enable:

  • Very high throughput, centralised lab-based analyses: for example, to support routine screening of workforces - whether on the frontline or to support a general return to work. This might include regular screening of healthcare workers/other public sector employees, or businesses’ employees, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic.
  • Near-community: Also designed to be deployable in decentralised environments, LamPORE opens up potential opportunities for rapid, local testing as restrictions are eased, for example in care homes, transport networks, businesses or other community settings. Decentralisation supports rapid turnaround of testing, which is important to enable rapid, precise isolation and therefore prevent onwards transmission of the virus.

The LamPORE method can also be used to analyse environmental samples to assess for the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This has the potential to be used for swabbing surfaces, or systems such as water treatment.
LamPORE does not rely on reagents used in traditional COVID-19 tests, which could ease pressure on current supply chains and expand access.

“This year we have gained extensive experience supporting customers using our sequencing technology for COVID-19 epidemiology, and we have also been directing our own powerful innovation and development engine at COVID-19,” said Dr Gordon Sanghera, CEO of Oxford Nanopore.

“We designed our first nanopore sequencing device to be used by any scientist, anywhere. Now, with LamPORE, we want to bring the accessibility and scalability of nanopore sequencing into the area of rapid testing,”

Oxford Nanopore is collaborating with scientists in multiple institutions for rapid optimisation and validation of the LamPORE method for SARS-CoV-2 detection.

Find out more: http://www.nanoporetech.com/covid19

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