Customer Stories

Ethos Laboratories® Finds Success with The MassARRAY® System as an Alternative to NGS Testing for SARS-CoV-2 Variant Detection

About Ethos Laboratories

Ethos Laboratories is an advanced molecular laboratory in Newport, KY, that specializes in functional biomarker testing for the pain management communities. The laboratory has developed several custom biomarker panels in coordination with Ethos R&D to assess chronic inflammation, nerve health, neurotransmitter status, and oxidative stress. Recently, in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Ethos Laboratories expanded its offerings to provide SARS-CoV-2 testing.

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The Challenge

Ethos Laboratories identified the need for an alternative to next-generation sequencing (NGS) for detection of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) as demand for testing persisted throughout the United States and globally. While good for novel variant detection, NGS testing is costly and can take several days to return results – making it a challenging tool for known variant detection.

“NGS technologies, while crucial for variant discovery, are not amenable to the necessary high-throughput demands of daily COVID-19 testing worldwide,” said Joshua Gunn, Chief Scientific Officer for Ethos R&D.

Ethos Laboratories strives to support community leaders and healthcare providers during the pandemic with fast, accurate, affordable testing. A new partnership with Agena Bioscience® addressed these needs.

The Solution

The MassARRAY® SARS-CoV-2 Panel (EUA) and SARS-CoV-2 Variant Panel (RUO) enable testing for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 virus and SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. The system features industry-leading turnaround time, allowing Ethos Laboratories to test for variants of concern in a matter or hours instead of days.

In August 2020, the FDA granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to Ethos Laboratories for for molecular detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA on the MassARRAY System. The EUA permits testing from samples provided by a healthcare provider and from samples collected by patients at home using the U-Collect At Home Collections kit. The authorization was the first of its kind issued by the FDA for this technology and workflow.

As the COVID-19 pandemic evolved, Ethos Laboratories continued its partnership with Agena Bioscience to address the emergence of new key SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. Peter Dansky, CEO at Agena Bioscience, revealed why Ethos Laboratories chose Agena Bioscience to rectify issues with NGS testing.

“As new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus emerge there is a need to support the increasing demand for molecular laboratories to discriminate these variants in a high-throughput, cost-effective, time-sensitive manner and we feel the MassARRAY System is the perfect tool for that,” Mr. Dansky said.

The MassARRAY platform clearly identifies SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern without extensive bioinformatics analysis.

Ethos Laboratories has also found the partnership with Agena Bioscience to be highly affordable when compared with traditional testing, with results reported for under $25 per sample. Comparable NGS testing can cost hundreds of dollars per sample.

“Accurate testing with prompt reporting is critical. We are excited to be able to provide this service to the country,” said Todd Bladel, COO of Ethos Laboratories.” Rapid reporting is fundamental for people to take appropriate action and limit the spread of infection.”

See How the MassARRAY System Supports Rapid, High-Throughput Testing for SARS-CoV-2 Variants

Explore the variety of applications for MassARRAY System technology. Prefer a custom solution? Design your own custom assay or let our expert scientists serve you.

Ethos Laboratories. Accessed April 29, 2021.
2. Ethos Labs, Agena Biosciences Partner on SARS-CoV-2 Variant Identification. Press Release. Accessed April 29, 2021.
3. Schutzbank T, et al. SARS-CoV-2 Variant Panel (RUO): A high throughput and robust assay for the detection and differentiation of key SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern for use on the MassARRAY System. Accessed April 29, 2021.


“ Government agencies and regulatory bodies should consider innovative technologies such as the Agena MassARRAY for existing variant detection which will act to conserve NGS platforms for emerging variant discovery. We are proud to be offering the first high throughout variant detection panel to our clients nationwide.

– Joshua Gunn, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer, Ethos Laboratories

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