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How Phosphorus Genomics Is Fighting COVID-19

Phosphorus is a New York City-based genomics firm that was founded in May 2016. Co-founders Alex Bisignano and Dr. Santiago Munne are scientists who previously created Recombine, a genetic testing company that offered tests prior to pregnancy to screen for gene defects. After Recombine was sold, some of its assets were funneled into Phosphorus.

The firm’s lab, Phosphorus Diagnostics LLC, is located in Secaucus, NJ. It is CLIA-certified, CAP-accredited, NYSDOH-approved, and licensed for testing in all 50 states.

How Is Phosphorus Helping in the Fight Against COVID-19?

Phosphorus offers the RT-qPCR test, which checks for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, commonly known as the coronavirus or COVID-19. Customers can order the test online by completing a digital medical questionnaire. A board-certified physician then reviews it, and if the customer is eligible, they are sent a saliva sample collection kit.

Upon receiving the kit, customers spit into the Oragene OG-510 saliva tube from DNA Genotek. After the sample is self-collected, the kit is sent to the laboratory and processed. Results are typically available by email 1 to 3 days after the kit is received by the lab, and customers can then schedule a telehealth consultation. Phosphorus has been given an FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for this test.

The company also provides the COVID-19 N-IgG antibody test, which detects long-term antibodies. For this test, a blood sample is required instead of saliva. This test is useful for those who think they have been previously exposed to or infected by the virus. Results are available within three days from receipt at the lab. Customers can obtain a copy of the results from their health care provider.

Both tests have been validated under an IRB-approved protocol. They cost $150 each, plus additional fees. Information from the tests may be stored and used for research purposes, though it would be anonymized. Phosphorus genomics gives information to customers so that they can file an insurance claim and offers a financial assistance program for people who cannot afford testing.

Phosphorus’s Partnerships

On August 25th, Phosphorus announced that its tests are available on the Citizen mobile app. Some of the app’s features include finding testing sites and tracking your symptoms. It also includes SafePass, a feature which monitors virus exposure. The app does not share personal information or names, and data is destroyed from the app after 30 days for your security.

On September 9, the food and drug retailer Albertsons Companies announced that it was working with Phosphorus to offer in-home COVID-19 test kits in specified market areas. Customers first complete an online questionnaire which is reviewed by an Albertsons Cos. pharmacist. The pharmacy then contacts the customer to schedule a delivery or pickup. The sample is sent to the lab, and results are given by text or email, generally within three days from the time the test is received. An Albertsons Cos. pharmacist can then answer follow-up questions from the customer.

Phosphorus’s Other Offerings

Phosphorus offers many other genetic tests. Customers can order an at-home testing kit from its website. After order completion, they will be sent a saliva collection unit and an email through which they can register their kit online. Samples are collected through the saliva sample collection kit.

After receipt of the kit at the lab, technicians perform DNA extraction, gene amplification, and next-generation sequencing (NGS). Phosphorus’s algorithms analyze DNA and find variations along genes. The lab team reviews the data to see if there are any high-risk variations. If so, customers may be able to schedule a consultation with a board-certified genetic counselor to go over the data and decide on a plan. Genetic testing has already helped thousands of people.

Phosphorus Diagnostics also offers a patient screening program for employers and provides tests for employers and health care providers. Its mobile testing program offers antibody testing to people in the New York City area.

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