A staff member does nucleic acid testing work at a novel coronavirus detection lab in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, Feb. 22, 2020. (Xinhua/Cheng Min)

Intel, Lenovo, BGI team up to accelerate analysis of coronavirus genome

U.S. leading chip manufacturer Intel Corporation and Chinese tech firms of Lenovo and BGI Genomics announced on Tuesday to pool their resource for investigating the genomic characteristics of the novel coronavirus.

The research is expected to lead a path to vaccine and immunotherapies of the pathogen.

Under the agreement, technology and life science experts from Intel and Lenovo will work together to support BGI Genomics researchers with the latest big data analytics technologies and computing resources, so as to advance the capabilities of its sequencing tools and more effectively analyze the genomic characteristics of the novel coronavirus.

BGI Genomics has developed COVID-19 diagnostic kits and gained a wealth of knowledge on the virus, which is helpful to develop an effective vaccine or treatment in the future.

“There are still many aspects that we don’t know about the coronavirus. As BGI Genomics is working on the genomic analysis of the virus and to accelerate infection identification, this effort requires massive computing resources. This is exactly where we can contribute our expertise,” said Rui Wang, vice president for the Sales, Marketing, and Communications Group and Country Manager for China Sales at Intel Corporation.

“Experts in big data analytics and life sciences from Intel and Lenovo will integrate our resources and expertise to help address the critical challenges and drive the development of health and life sciences,” said Fuyao Tong, senior vice president of Lenovo and president of Lenovo Business Technology Group.

BGI Genomics is sequencing swarms of microbes from the bodily fluid of COVID-19 patients, which generate terabyte to petabyte-sized data. To efficiently process the important data requires advanced computing infrastructure and technologies.

Headquartered in the southern China city of Shenzhen, BGI Genomics is a leading life science and genomics firm in the world.

“Genome alignment, assembly, annotation and phylogenetic analysis of virus nucleic acid fragments is a high-density computing process. Sufficient high-performance computing is important to improve the efficiency of analysis,” said Xiangqian Jin, CIO of BGI Genomics.