GenMark ePlex® RP2 Panel Predicted to Detect Known SARS-CoV-2 Variants Currently in Circulation Based on in silico Analysis

CARLSBAD, Calif., Feb. 22, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — GenMark Diagnostics, Inc. (NASDAQ: GNMK), a leading provider of automated, multiplex molecular diagnostic testing systems, today announced that its ePlex Respiratory Pathogen Panel 2 (RP2) is predicted to detect known SARS–CoV–2 variants currently in circulation.

As the COVID–19 pandemic continues to evolve, GenMark is routinely monitoring publicly available databases for new SARS–CoV–2 strains and variants and conducting bioinformatic analyses to determine if the mutations present in the viral genome would impact detection of these variants on the ePlex RP2 Panel. The recently identified SARS–CoV–2 variant strains include multiple mutations with the majority occurring in the spike protein, or S gene region and additional mutations found in the nucleoprotein region, or N gene. The ePlex RP2 Panel targets two unique regions of the N gene; the currently identified N gene mutations for the variants listed above are found outside of the sequence region targeted by the SARS–CoV–2 assays on the ePlex RP2 Panel and therefore the following variant strains currently in circulation are predicted to be detected based on the in silico analysis: B.1.1.7 (UK), B.1.351 (South Africa) , P.1 (Brazil), COH.20G/677H and COH.20G/501Y (Ohio, USA) and B.1.429 (California, USA). GenMark will continue to update the list of variants detected by the ePlex RP2 Panel. For the most up–to date information on the SARS–CoV–2 variants detected, please visit: https://gnmk.info/SARSCoV2–Variants

The U.S. ranks 43rd in the world in sequencing of positive SARS–CoV–2 viral samples. To address this challenge, the Tracking COVID Variants Act was recently introduced with a goal to significantly boost funding and support for advanced molecular detection technologies at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide robust genetic surveillance and sequencing activities for SARS–CoV–2 variants. GenMark joined with other members of the American Society for Microbiolgy Corporate Council in supporting this important effort to boost our nation's genomic surveillance and sequencing capacity by signing a stakeholder letter, expressing support for the bill. Specifically, the proposed bill authorizes up to $1.75 billion in emergency supplemental funding for the CDC. For more information on this important initiative: https://asm.org/Articles/Policy/2021/Feb–21/ASM–Hails–Congressional–Proposal–of–1–75–Billion–f

About the ePlex RP2 Panel

The ePlex RP2 Panel provides results for more than 20 viruses and bacteria that cause common and often serious respiratory infections, including COVID–19, flu, bronchitis, pneumonia and the common cold. With less than one minute of laboratory hands–on time and a total run time of less than two hours, the ePlex RP2 Panel is easy to use, rapid, and can be run in a broad array of hospital and reference lab settings.

The ePlex RP2 Panel helps address the double burden of this respiratory illness season by quickly identifying or ruling out the responsible pathogen(s) to enable proper treatment, potentially minimizing unnecessary use of antibiotics, which can save lives and reduce antibiotic resistance. Syndromic panels, like the ePlex RP2 Panel, allow clinicians to get the answers they need across a broad set of pathogens, enabling appropriate triage and treatment of hospitalized and critically ill patients from a single swab.

The EUA–authorized and CE–Marked ePlex RP2 Panel runs on GenMark's ePlex instrument, which is FDA cleared and CE–Marked for use with the company's ePlex RP Panel and Blood Culture Identification (BCID) Panels (Gram–positive, Gram–negative and Fungal pathogens).

About GenMark Diagnostics
GenMark Diagnostics (NASDAQ: GNMK) is a leading provider of multiplex molecular diagnostic solutions designed to enhance patient care, improve key quality metrics, and reduce the total cost–of–care. Utilizing GenMark's proprietary eSensor detection technology, GenMark's eSensor XT–8 and ePlex systems are designed to support a broad range of molecular diagnostic tests with compact, easy–to–use workstations and self–contained, disposable test cartridges. GenMark's ePlex: The True Sample–to–Answer Solution is designed to optimize laboratory efficiency and address a broad range of infectious disease testing needs, including respiratory, bloodstream, and gastrointestinal infections. For more information, visit www.genmarkdx.com.

Forward Looking Statements
This press release includes forward–looking statements regarding events, trends and business prospects, which may affect our future operating results and financial position. Such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results and financial position to differ materially. Some of these risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, our ability to detect all current and future circulating SARS–CoV–2 variant strains, the continued progression of the associated public health emergency, our ability to satisfy the supply demands of our customers, and other risks and uncertainties described under the “Risk Factors” in our public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We assume no responsibility to update or revise any forward–looking statements to reflect events, trends or circumstances after the date they are made.

Investor Relations Contact
Leigh Salvo
(415) 937–5404
ir@genmarkdx.com


Sustainable Energy Key to COVID-19 Recovery in Asia and the Pacific

By Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana
BANGKOK, Thailand, Feb 22 2021 – The past year is one that few of us will forget. While the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have played out unevenly across Asia and the Pacific, the region has been spared many of the worst effects seen in other parts of the world. The pandemic has reminded us that a reliable and uninterrupted energy supply is critical to managing this crisis.

Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

Beyond ensuring that hospitals and healthcare facilities continue to function, energy supports the systems and coping mechanisms we rely on to work remotely, undertake distance learning and communicate essential health information. Importantly, energy will also underpin cold chains and logistics to ensure that billions of vaccines make their way to the people who need them most.

The good news is our region’s energy systems have continued to function throughout the pandemic. A new report Shaping a sustainable energy future in Asia and the Pacific: A greener, more resilient and inclusive energy system released today by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) shows the energy demand reductions have mainly impacted fossil fuels and depressed oil and gas prices. Renewable energy development in countries across the region, such as China and India, has continued at a healthy pace throughout 2020.

As the Asia-Pacific region transitions its energy system to clean, efficient and low carbon technologies, the emergence of the pandemic raises some fundamental questions. How can a transformed energy system help ensure our resilience to future crises such as COVID-19? As we recover from this pandemic, can we launch a “green recovery” that simultaneously rebuilds our economies and puts us on track to meet global climate and sustainability goals?

A clean and sustainable energy is central to a recovery from COVID-19 pandemic. By emphasizing the importance of the SDGs as a guiding framework for recovering better together, we must focus on two critical aspcets:

First, by making meaningful progress on the SDGs, we can address many of the systemic issues that made societies more vulnerable to COVID-19 in the first place – health, decent work, poverty and inequalities, to name a few.

Second, by directing stimulus spending to investments that support the achievement of the SDGs, we can build back better. If countries focus their stimulus efforts on the industries of the past such as fossil fuels, we risk not creating the jobs we need, or moving in the right direction to achieve the global goals that are critical to future generations. The energy sector offers multiple opportunities to align stimulus with the clean industries of the future.

The evidence shows that renewable energy and energy efficiency projects create more jobs for the same investment as fossil fuel projects. By increasing expenditure on clean cooking and electricity access, we can enhance economic activity in rural areas and bring modern infrastructure that can make these communities more resilient and inclusive, particularly for the wellbeing of women and children.

Additionally, investing in low-carbon infrastructure and technologies can create a basis for the more ambitious climate pledges we need to reach the Paris Agreement targets of a 2-degree global warming limit. On this note, several countries have announced carbon neutrality, demonstrating a long-term vision and commitment to an accelerated transformation to sustainable energy. Phasing out the use of coal from power generation portfolios by substituting with renewables, ending fossil fuel subsidies, and implementing carbon pricing are some of the steps we can take.

The COVID-19 crisis has forced us to change many aspects of our lives to keep ourselves and our societies safe. It has shown that we are more adaptive and resilient than we may have believed. Nevertheless, we should not waste the opportunities this crisis presents for transformative change. It should not deflect us from the urgent task of making modern energy available to all and decarbonizing the region’s energy system through a transition to sustainable energy. Instead, it should provide us with a renewed sense of urgency.

We must harness the capacity of sustainable energy to rebuild our societies and economies while protecting the environment in the pursuit of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana is Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of ESCAP

 


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The Last of the Kharia Speakers

By Mintu Deshwara and Pinaki Roy
Feb 22 2021 (IPS-Partners)

Since her husband Abrahm Soreng died two years ago, 70-year-old Veronica Kerketa doesn’t get the chance to talk in her mother tongue at home. None of her children [...] Read more »