CDC Selects Signature Science to Deliver Rapid, Accurate Biothreat Detection Workflows to their Laboratory Response Network

Standardized protocols aimed at RNA virus detection will be validated and optimized using a nanopore sequencing platform.

AUSTIN, TEXAS – September 9, 2021 – Signature Science, LLC was awarded a one-year contract from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to validate a suite of standardized protocols for rapid, accurate detection of RNA viruses characterized as biothreats using the Oxford Nanopore MinION nanopore sequencing device. Validated protocols may be considered for use in the CDC’s Laboratory Response Network (LRN). The contract is valued at $783,284.67.

The ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has demonstrated the threat posed by RNA viruses and underscored the need for a rapid, accurate sequencing method to detect potential novel emerging infectious diseases. Signature Science’s approach capitalizes on the ability of nanopore sequencing to perform unbiased sequencing to detect novel pathogens. Workflow evaluation and optimization efforts will incorporate both amplicon-based and target-agnostic viral characterization and include testing on both respiratory and blood-borne RNA viruses.

Signature Science will leverage its past work in biothreat detection, bioinformatic analyses, and quality assurance for public health laboratories, and prior experience with the MinION sequencing device for the delivery to the CDC. “We are pleased to be contributing to the public health community in this important work funded by the CDC,” said Dr. Curt Hewitt, Principal Investigator and Science & Technology Advisor at Signature Science. “The workflows we are optimizing will reduce the time required to sequence each RNA virus sample dramatically. We believe that nanopore sequencing will be a powerful tool for the detection and characterization of viral threats.”

Signature Science will perform work under this contract from its headquarters facility in Austin, Texas.

About Signature Science, LLC:
A subsidiary of the Southwest Research Institute, Signature Science, LLC is a scientific and technical consulting firm providing multi-disciplinary applied research, technology design and development, and scientific, technical, and operational services to government and industry.