A conversation with entrepreneur Janice Chen on how gene-editing technology could produce more accurate tests for Covid and other diseases.
Janice Chen, founder and chief technology officer, Mammoth Biosciences
Photo courtesy Mammoth Biosciences
This is one of a series of interviews by Bloomberg Opinion columnists on how to solve the world’s most pressing policy challenges. It has been edited for length and clarity.
Lisa Jarvis: The last two years of enduring nasal swabs for Covid have all of us thinking a lot more about the way in which we test for infectious diseases. You helped found Mammoth Biosciences in 2018, fresh from getting your Ph.D. under Nobel laureate Jennifer Doudna, one of the pioneers of the gene-editing technology Crispr. At the time, most Crispr companies were focused on finding treatments and cures for human diseases. You were pitching the idea that Crispr could transform how diseases are identified in the first place. How can Crispr make a difference in detecting disease?
Janice Chen, founder and chief technology officer, Mammoth Biosciences: When we first came across this unexpected finding that you could use CRISPR to detect DNA, it opened up a new world for molecular detection. Basically, you could say, I want this Crispr to be programmed to detect, say, HPV, and then you could provide a result in less than 30 minutes.
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