Ginkgo Bioworks and XpresCheck Expand CDC’s Traveler-Based Genomic Surveillance Program to Detect Influenza Variants
The program is an effective early warning system for viral variants, leveraging voluntary sampling from international travelers at major U.S. airports
BOSTON and NEW YORK, Jan. 17, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ginkgo Bioworks (NYSE: DNA) and XWELL, Inc. (Nasdaq: XWEL) today announced that they have expanded their support for the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Traveler-based Genomic Surveillance program to include a pilot study monitoring influenza viruses in addition to SARS-CoV-2. The partners continue to grow the program’s capabilities to provide an additional
source of viral surveillance to inform the selection of influenza vaccine viruses for the forthcoming 2023-2024 flu season.
Since August 2021, the program, which is also being used to conduct surveillance for SARS-CoV-2, has delivered timely public health insights into rare and emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants and sublineages and informed responses to outbreaks and surges through an innovative public-private partnership between CDC, Concentric by Ginkgo, the biosecurity and public health unit of Ginkgo Bioworks, and XpresCheck by XWELL, Inc., a leading provider of SARS-CoV-2 testing in U.S. airports. Recognizing the high level of seasonal influenza activity this fall and winter, the program is leveraging its large-scale travel biosecurity platform to monitor influenza A and B viruses among arriving international travelers at selected U.S. airports.
“As biological threats continue to emerge, evolve, and disrupt our lives as they spread across our interconnected world, the large-scale solutions we built to respond to COVID-19 are now forming the basis for the long-term biosecurity infrastructure we need,” said Matt McKnight, General Manager, Biosecurity at Ginkgo. “Traveler-based detection represents a critical early warning system that can act like a radar for a variety of potential public health threats, beginning with COVID-19 and flu. Working in close partnership with CDC and XpresCheck enables us to pursue sustainable innovation, sidestepping global cycles of crisis and complacency in public health to strengthen this badly needed radar system for the years to come.”