BGI Group Provides Support for Timely COVID-19 Detection and Intervention across Europe

LONDON, April 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Genomics sequencing services leader BGI Genomics, part of the BGI Group [https://www.bgi.com/global/], has trebled the daily production capacity of its RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 to 2 million per day in order to meet international orders from more than 80 countries and regions, including France, Germany, Italy, the UK and Sweden.

European countries are an important part of BGI Group's support efforts. MGI, part of the BGI Group, recently confirmed an agreement with the French Health Ministry to provide equipment and materials to 19 hospitals throughout France to enable COVID-19 testing of 2 million people, while BGI Genomics confirmed it will provide 1 million RT-PCR tests for diagnosis of COVID-19. All of the MGI instruments and extraction kits, the swabs, and the BGI Genomics RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 have received the CE-IVD mark.

"The most critical thing for all of us at BGI is to help bring this pandemic under control. We are working with governments and institutions globally to achieve this mission," says Yin Ye, CEO of BGI Genomics.

BGI has had close links with the European scientific community since it was first founded in 1999 to participate in the Human Genome Project. These ties remain strong. In 2012 BGI opened its first European Genome Research Centre in Copenhagen. Last year MGI opened a new R&D manufacturing facility in Riga, including a high throughput sequencing centre. It will also expand this facility to include a China-Europe Life Health Innovation Centre to strengthen cooperation in life science research and commercial applications.

Sequencing plays a number of roles in the fight against COVID-19, explains Duncan Yu, President of MGI. "It helped identify the virus that caused COVID-19 and can track new strains of the virus as it mutates and the speed of those changes."

Working with MGI Tech Latvia, the Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre were able to sequence and analyze SARS-CoV-2 virus samples to track the origin and movement of the virus based on its genomic signature.

In Sweden, researchers in genomics at the Karolinska Institutet have been working closely with BGI Group for over a decade. Most recently, the institute took delivery of instruments for a BGI/MGI Huo Yan "Fire Eye" laboratory that will initially perform 5,000 COVID-19 tests a day.

The "Fire Eye" laboratory was battle tested in Wuhan where a 2,000 sq mt automated bio-safety level-2 PCR testing laboratory was set up by BGI Group. This was followed by 11 more "Fire Eye" laboratories in China, each handling up to 10,000 COVID-19 tests per day.

In addition to the laboratory in Sweden, these total solution laboratories have been deployed in the USA, UAE, Serbia and Brunei.

BGI Group has a long history of responding to public health crises including decoding the genome of the SARS virus in 2003, developing the virus detection kit in 96 hours, and fighting the Ebola outbreak in 2014 in West Africa.

CONTACT: Kristi Heim, +1-408-648-2560

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