PerkinElmer has introduced its new NEXTFLEX Variant-Seq SARS-CoV-2 Kit v2 for research use only (RUO) to boost SARS-CoV-2 variants detection.

The new SARS-CoV-2 test kit is a next-generation sequencing (NGS) assay that will help labs increase sequencing throughput and reliably identify variants.

It uses positive SARS-CoV-2 samples to detect mutations associated with all variants of SARS-CoV-2, including the new Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant.

The NEXTFLEX Variant-Seq SARS-CoV-2 Kit v2 incorporates Nextflex normalisation beads and is beneficial for laboratories in terms of scalability, cost savings and speed.

It minimises turn-around time by up to three hours, on an average of 96 samples, due to eliminating the need for quantification of individual library samples before the pooling step.

With a streamlined protocol, the new kit features improved manual and automatic workflows that use consistent input volumes at all sample preparation steps.

PerkinElmer applied genomics general manager James Atwood said: “The emergence of the Omicron variant has reaffirmed the important role that SARS-CoV-2 surveillance will play in ending the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The NEXTFLEX Variant-Seq SARS-CoV-2 Kit v2 workflow was specifically designed to meet the needs of the surveillance community by increasing speed from sample to result, increasing throughput and reducing workflow complexity.”

Additionally, the SARS-CoV-2 test kit uses 1,536 Unique Dual Index (UDI) barcodes, providing high throughput and reducing costs per sample by allowing the sequencing of 6,000 SARS-CoV-2 libraries in one flow cell.

The company stated that it also offers the PKamp VariantDetect SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR Assay to detect and differentiate many known SARS-CoV-2 mutations, including Omicron, simultaneously using real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) multiplexing technology.

The assay allows labs to carry out secondary testing on positive samples to identify SARS-CoV-2 virus mutations in the samples.

It can provide results within two hours and is compatible with all commonly available RT-PCR instruments.

In October, PerkinElmer received emergency use authorization (EUA) from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its PKamp Respiratory SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR Panel 1 assay.