University of Washington launches service supporting viral diagnostic tests

The University of Washington’s expert diagnostics team has launched a Center for Viral Excellence, a service that can help companies and labs to evaluate diagnostic tests for viruses.

The Due to their expertise in sequencing and droplet-based technologies, the UW team that includes Keith Jerome, Alex Greninger, Linda Cook is often asked for advice. They are now planning to monetize those services by offering their consulting as a service to diagnostics manufacturers and laboratories interested in validating their assays through comparison to gold standard tests.

For example, then new UW center will include assay development and head-to-head assay comparison to comply with the US Food and Administration's 510(k) requirements.

In addition to offering expertise with next generation sequencing and digital PCR, the center will also perform instrument and reagent evaluation and validation, contract clinical trial lab services, and offer access to clinical samples and sample banks.

The new lab is expected to be useful to industry because of their sophisticated equipment, advanced expertise as well as access to the patient samples required for assay evaluation, while generating some extra funds for diagnostics research. "It helps get a little money on the side and allows them to use their expertise to scale technologies that they themselves would not be able to scale," Alex Greninger told the online newsletter Genomeweb.

The article notes that Greninger did his M.D. and Ph.D. work at University of California, San Francisco and did research with both Joe DeRisi and Charles Chiu. “His expertise in sequencing and metagenomics is complemented by the expertise of others in the UW virology department, such as Keith Jerome, David Koelle, and Linda Cook, who are all considered leaders in the field.”

The new center is already set up with 1,200 square feet of space. Linda Cook, who is an expert on international standards and virus quantification, will be a full-time member of the center.