A small DNA-testing company that just months ago was trying to get its footing in consumer genetics is now part of an effort to make U.K. hospitals safer during the pandemic.
The company, DnaNudge, won a 161-million pound ($211 million) order for 5,000 machines and a supply of cartridges to test patients for the new coronavirus in hundreds of the National Health Service hospitals.
For founder Christofer Toumazou, a professor at Imperial College London, it’s the culmination of months of efforts to retool a toaster-size machine he originally developed to analyze key bits of people’s DNA so users could tailor their diet to their heredity. Now his lab-in-a-box will be used to see whether patients arriving at hospitals for surgery, cancer treatment and other procedures harbor Covid-19 — an unexpected detour in his contribution to the consumer genetics revolution.
“We could be entering a very new world when we come out on the other side of this pandemic,” Toumazou said in an interview.
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