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Murdoch Uni’s ANPC Co-Launches New Phenomics Tool

Murdoch University’s Australian National Phenome Centre (ANPC), in a collaboration with an American manufacturer of scientific instruments for molecular and materials research, launched a new NMR-based tool for phenomics research into addressing and understanding long-term COVID-19 symptoms.

The technology was developed by combining metabolic markers discovered by Murdoch University’s Director Professor Jeremy Nicholson and the ANPC team, this tool provides researchers with the ability to monitor early-stage risk factors as well as recovery after being infected with COVID-19.

Professor Nicholson and his team have published their findings internationally using metabolic phenotyping to study COVID-19 infections, and more recently, in Long-COVID or Post-acute COVID-19 syndrome. These findings have laid the foundation for the new “PhenoRisk PACS” test which uses NMR to distinguish individuals with Long-COVID from those who are healthy or have fully recovered from the disease.

Professor Jeremy Nicholson stated that the tool will allow researchers to explore the molecular and biochemical basis of this complex disease and enable us to determine both the long-term and persistent impacts of COVID-19. Specifically, this test will use a new NMR Supramolecular Composite (SPC) Marker in combination with composite signals of glycoproteins and phospholipids to provide researchers with specific information about the risks of secondary organ damage including those associated with cardiovascular diseases, type II diabetes, kidney dysfunction and hyper-inflammation.

The Professor noted that the development is an excellent example of fundamental discovery at the ANPC coupled with an active clinical translation process through our industry partners. The rapid 20-min blood test is a multi-level and multi-parameter healthcare assessment tool for Long-COVID that is now available for research use.  It is automated and standardised across the partnering company’s Avance IVDr Nuclear Magnetic Resonance system allowing researchers to measure the health profiles of those affected.

ANPC researchers are using this technique to simultaneously assess multiple biological mechanisms of action to provide actionable information for suitable intervention that can help Long-COVID patients accelerate their recovery.

According to the company’s website, The PhenoRisk PACS™ RuO test will help research early-stage risk factors, longitudinal recovery monitoring and potential secondary organ damage in cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, kidney dysfunction and inflammation. It consists of an Avance™ IVDr NMR spectroscopy system that is testing several biological mechanisms of action simultaneously in a 20-minute blood test from SARS-CoV-2 acute infection survivors who suffer long-term sequelae, termed either Post-Acute COVID Syndrome (PACS) or commonly known as ‘Long COVID’ syndrome.

This new NMR test has the potential to quantitatively discriminate PACS patients from healthy or fully recovered individuals by studying COVID-triggered pheno-conversion, which is defined as a transient or persistent systemic change of the molecular signatures in human plasma samples after acute infection. Subsequent pheno-reversion of metabolic signatures detected by PhenoRisk PACS™ RuO may indicate PACS recovery.

The global molecular spectroscopy market is anticipated to reach US$ 6.85 billion by 2022 from US$ 4.98 billion in 2017, at a CAGR of 6.6%. This market growth can be mainly attributed to food safety concerns, the growth of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry, technological advancements in molecular spectroscopy and the application of molecular spectroscopy in environmental screening. However, the high cost of equipment is likely to restrain the growth of the market during the forecast period.

The Asia Pacific region is expected to record the highest CAGR in the global molecular spectroscopy market during the forecast period of 2017-2022.

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