Illumina campus
The Illumina Campus in San Diego. Courtesy of the company.

San Diego-based Illumina announced it will contribute $60 million in genetic sequencing services to a global pathogen detection initiative in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The initiative builds on the Africa Pathogen Genomics Initiative announced in October 2020 to create a comprehensive network around the world to detect and track new disease-causing pathogens.

Illumina will donate its sequencing platforms, reagents, and training over five years. The project will initially focus on South Asia, equipping public health institutions there with better tools to create an early warning system for pathogens.

“Rapidly identifying outbreaks and tracking their spread and evolution will save lives around the world and is essential to strengthening health care systems,” said Francis deSouza, chief executive officer of Illumina.

Trevor Mundel, president of global health for the Gates Foundation, said expanding access to genetic sequencing will help “detect new epidemics before they spread widely.”

“It’s critical to empower scientists in South Asia, like we’re doing in Africa, with the tools they need to stay one step ahead of pathogens,” he said.

Illumina is the global leader in DNA sequencing, serving customers in the research, clinical, and applied markets.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.