OSLO, Norway–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The molecular diagnostics company Age Labs, the Department of Genetics and Bioinformatics at the Division of Health Data and Digitalization at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, the Lab for Dynamic Gene Regulation at Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet and the Department of Acute Medicine at Oslo University Hospital, Ullevål, and the Department of Medicine at Bærum Hospital, Vestre Viken have partnered to develop a novel test with the aim of improving the outcomes of those infected with SARS-CoV-2.
This team will develop a simple blood test to identify high-risk patients early in the course of COVID-19 disease, or even prior to disease onset. The innovation within this project leverages diverse areas of expertise among the collaborators and their many years of experience in developing novel biomarkers based on genome-wide epigenetic data from white blood cells.
A clinical need
COVID-19 disease has a high hospitalization rate, an unpredictable clinical course, and a high mortality rate. The current treatment is mainly supportive, based on treating complications after they have occurred, and there are currently no clinical markers to determine which patients are at greatest risk for severe outcomes.
“The clinical course in patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 is unpredictable, and some patients deteriorate fast. Tools that may help us identify who will deteriorate at an earlier stage will be of great importance and enable us to improve the treatment of each patient. We also hope this project may increase our understanding of the biological processes involved in this disease,” expresses physician Anders Tveita, who will lead the patient inclusion at Bærum hospital.
Age Labs uses state-of-the-art machine learning technology and data from biobanks to develop biomarkers. The company measures the epigenetic state of immune cells, with a particular focus on age-related diseases.
“As medical doctors and clinicians, we understand the challenges confronting our colleagues in the field. When the pandemic hit Norway in March, we quickly realized that our platform puts us in a unique position to contribute” explains Cathrine Hadley, Head of Clinical Development at Age Labs.
A predictive test
The test will first be used in hospitals to decide the appropriate level of care and to tailor specific treatment. The test also has the potential to become a screening test to differentiate between individuals at high risk for severe disease from those with an innate protection against COVID-19.
Age Labs is a Norwegian molecular diagnostics company that uses advanced machine-learning to develop and commercialize biomarkers for the early detection of age-related diseases. These biomarkers are suited for evaluating epigenetic drug effects in clinical trials.