Each MinION sequencer is approx the size of a stapler and can provide rapid sequence information about the coronavirus. Pic: Oxford Nanopore Technologies

Hundreds of Oxford Nanopore sequencers leave the UK for China, to help with surveillance of the coronavirus outbreak.

 1 min | By Gill Oliver
 |  | Jan 31st 2020

Oxford Nanopore has shipped 200 MinION sequencers and consumables to China to help with surveillance of the coronavirus outbreak.

The shipment follows extensive collaboration with public health professionals in China and adds to a large number of MinION devices already in the country.

The company, which has its headquarters on Oxford Science Park, is working with more than 100 public health laboratories in China, plus a number of Chinese microbiology laboratories and global public health scientists.

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“We are privileged to be working with a global scientific community to support their understanding of this outbreak,” said Oxford Nanopore chief executive Dr Gordon Sanghera.

“We hope that the nanopore vision of enabling anyone to access biological information anywhere, can have a positive impact, and are immensely grateful for the community support as we work to rapidly optimise for this outbreak.”

The MinION sequencer weighs less than 100g and is run with a laptop or special accessory, the MinIT, to perform data analysis. It streams sequence data in real time, allowing for rapid sequencing. It has previously performed sequencing in rural or remote settings, such as during the Ebola and Zika virus outbreaks.

Rapid sequencing of the coronavirus has been an essential tool in helping scientists to understand the outbreak. Sequence information is combined with location and time data, to give valuable insight into how the virus is spreading and whether it is changing.

Oxford Nanopore Technologies also has offices in Shanghai, Tokyo, Singapore, New York, San Francisco and Cambridge in Massachusetts.

About the Author

Gill Oliver

Gill Oliver is a professionally trained journalist who’s written for The New Statesman, The Bureau for Investigative Journalism, The Daily Mail’s business section This is Money, The Press Association, The Huffington Post plus a host of national magazines, news agencies and trade and industry journals. She’s also spent nine years reporting on the Oxfordshire business and tech scene for The Oxford Times and The Oxford Mail.

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