Hometechnology News

    Lenovo claims its new tool can finish genome sequencing for COVID-like viruses in just 18 minutes

    Lenovo claims its new tool can finish genome sequencing for COVID-like viruses in just 18 minutes

    Lenovo claims its new tool can finish genome sequencing for COVID-like viruses in just 18 minutes
    Profile image

    By Vijay Anand   IST (Updated)

    Mini

    At the moment, the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) — under the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare — has 10 hub INSACOG Genome Sequencing Labs (IGSLs) and 18 satellite IGSLs in the country. Each state or Union territory has a set number of sentinel centres, each of which must send 15 samples every 15 days to the mapped IGSL. Each genome sequencing run takes between 24 and 48 hours.

    Before and during the coronavirus pandemic, a genome sequencing process — used to detect SARS-COV-2 (COVID-19) and its many variants and sub-variants — took an average of 36 hours per run.
    A new tool created by multinational technology giant Lenovo's Infrastructure Solutions Group claims to cut that time down to 18 minutes, or nearly 135 times faster.
    The tool, Genomics Optimisation and Scalability Tool — or GOAST — is aimed at accelerating and scaling genome sequencing so that the largest number of people benefit, said Sinisa Nikolic, Asia-Pacific Director — High Performance Computing and AI, Lenovo ISG, during an interaction on Tuesday.
    Between December 2021 and January 2022, the Information Data Corporation (IDC), a market research firm, conducted a genomics survey commissioned by Lenovo and Intel, with 150 pharmaceutical and biotech companies across five countries — Japan, Korea, Singapore, Thailand, and India.
    TOP 3 IT CHALLENGES IN THE CONTEXT OF GENOMICS
    page2image42845120
    page2image40556848 (Source: IDC Asia/Pacific Genomics Survey 2022, sponsored by Lenovo)

    According to the report, 83 percent of respondents (genome sequencing labs) in India expect their already heavy workload to grow by 10 percent in the next two years.  

    While the aim of the study was finding long-term benefits of genomics — how this data coupled with high-performance computing and Artificial Intelligence could lead to personalised, affordable medication, its immediate application is of more interest.

    How genome sequencing works in India
    At the moment, the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) — under the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare — has 10 hub Genome Sequencing Labs (IGSLs) and 18 satellite IGSLs in the country. Each state or Union territory has a set number of sentinel centres, each of which must send 15 samples every 15 days to the mapped IGSL.  
    A Hindu Business Line report in August 2021 quoted SK Singh, Director at National Centre for Disease Control, as saying there were 277 sentinel centres across the country.
    That's 8,310 samples being handled by 28 ISGLs per month, which rounds off to an average of 277 genome sequencing runs per centre per month, or a turnaround time of 9,972 hours per IGSL per month. While this might seem like it could cause a massive backlog, considering they're only about 720 hours per month, give or take 24 hours.
    If GOAST becomes operational at just these 28 IGSLs, it could cut the entire processing time of one centre to 83 hours per month.
    One could make the argument that India can increase the number of IGSLs, but the prohibitive cost is a massive hurdle. It costs about Rs 1.5 crore for a fully-equipped genome sequencing lab.
    Nikolic said Lenovo ISG has worked with the CSIR Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology — and several other organisations — in this regard during the pandemic.
    PROJECTED EXPENDITURE VS WORKLOADS
    page4image40682304 (Source: IDC Asia/Pacific Genomics Survey 2022, sponsored by Lenovo)
    "The volume and type of genomics data generated is unimaginable and to make accurate decisions based on this data requires huge computing power. This gets even more difficult with complex and unscalable solutions that were found to be cautious factors for 50 percent of organizations in India looking for genomics solutions," Nikolic added.
    Nikolic says the entire GOAST setup — hardware and software — costs around $100,000 (Rs 77 lakh) and Lenovo will handle the installation.
    Lenovo's aim is to make sure GOAST is as widely available — with no licensing fee and a one-time investment (around $100,000), it can have a broad range of applications without increasing the cost burden on patients, Nikolic added.
    'High-perfomance computing is the future of healthcare'
    Nikolic says "precision medicine" will become the healthcare buzzword in the future, as genomics and data-driven high-performance computing coupled with AI can accurately create each individual's medical profile and make it possible for medical professionals to give them "personalised medicine", rather than the current approach of "one size fits all".
    "One size doesn’t fit all, whether at frontend healthcare delivery or backend IT infrastructure. This is where pay-as-you- go models like Lenovo TruScale become crucial," said Sumir Bhatia, President — Asia Pacific, Lenovo ISG.
    "Genomics is fundamental to developing a precision-medicine strategy to treat chronic illness, rare diseases, and lifestyle disorders," added Nikolic said.
    Lenovo said the Asia-Pacific region, especially India, will become an important market, especially against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, with increasing funding and demand for "hyper-scalable, ultra-high-performance infrastructure".
    Check out our in-depth Market Coverage, Business News & get real-time Stock Market Updates on CNBC-TV18. Also, Watch our channels CNBC-TV18, CNBC Awaaz and CNBC Bajar Live on-the-go!
    arrow down

      Most Read

      Market Movers

      View All
      CompanyPriceChng%Chng