XWELL and partner Ginkgo Bioworks have expanded their support for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) traveler-based genomic surveillance program to include a pilot study monitoring influenza viruses, in addition to SARS-CoV-2.
The partners continue to grow the program’s capabilities to provide an additional source of viral surveillance to inform the selection of influenza vaccine viruses for the forthcoming 2023-2024 flu season.
Since August 2021, XWELL’s XpresCheck division and Ginkgo Bioworks have combined with the CDA to deliver timely public health insights into rare and emerging Covid variants and sublineages and informed responses to outbreaks and surges,
Recognizing the high level of seasonal influenza activity this fall and winter, the program is leveraging its large-scale travel biosecurity platform to also monitor influenza A and B viruses among arriving international travelers at selected U.S. airports.
International travelers arriving at participating airports from more than 30 countries can enroll in the program on a voluntary basis to be sampled for pathogen surveillance purposes. These samples are then tested for influenza A and B in addition to SARS-CoV-2. Samples that test positive for influenza are then shared with CDC for viral genomic sequencing, as well as culturing for further in vitro characterization.