Biotech start-up Sagenome develops test kit to predict Covid disease severity

Our Bureau Kochi | Updated on October 26, 2021

Will be useful for elderly persons and those having co-morbidities

As India continues to grapple with the frightful aftermath of the second wave of Covid, a Kochi-based biotechnology start-up has developed a test kit for genomic analysis that can help predict chances of developing severe disease if infected.

COVIGENE, developed by technology-driven, genome-based wellness enterprise Sagenome on its OhMyGene platform, will provide sufficient information that will help individuals prepare well for treatments to ensure correct management. It provides a test of genetic variations that can help predict Covid disease severity.

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Individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 experience extreme variation of the disease, ranging from a complete lack of symptoms to rapidly worsening end-stage pulmonary disease. Yet, Covid is strangely and tragically selective.

Morbidity and mortality due to Covid rise dramatically with age and co-existing health conditions, including cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Peer reviewed and reliable published data also strongly suggest that underlying genetic factors are involved in disease severity.

Core team

Incubated at Kerala Startup Mission in Kochi, SAGENOME is helmed by M Ayyappan, former CMD of HLL Lifecare Limited (HLL), and M Radhakrishna Pillai, who retired as the Director of Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology.

Pillai said COVIGENE provides data on possible prediction of the disease course based on profile of four genes.

“Till now, the understanding of Covid-19 severity has been limited to the use of clinical risk models. Addition of a genetic profile to the clinical modelling will be immensely useful. COVIGENE will also be useful for elderly persons and those having co-morbidities including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and cancer,” he said.

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“During the pandemic, our expertise focused on identifying and validating gene variants associated with Covid-19 severity,” he noted. “We used this research tool to predict if a person has a higher genetic chance of developing a serious disease. It can then be used to discuss options with healthcare professionals when diagnosed with a Covid infection.”

Published on October 26, 2021

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