Primerdesign launches molecular test for new coronavirus

31 January 2020 (Last Updated February 13th, 2020 10:15)

Clinical diagnostics company Novacyt’s molecular diagnostics division Primerdesign has launched a new molecular research use only (RUO) test for novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Primerdesign launches molecular test for new coronavirus
Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that have a halo, or crown-like (corona) appearance when viewed under an electron microscope. Credit: CDC / Dr. Fred Murphy.

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Clinical diagnostics company Novacyt’s molecular diagnostics division Primerdesign has launched a molecular research use only (RUO) test for novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

The company developed the test in response to the recent coronavirus outbreak in China.

Primerdesign’s coronavirus test is capable of detecting only the 2019 strain of the virus.

The company believes that this ability of the test differentiates it from other existing tests, which may also react to other related species giving rise to a false diagnosis.

Additionally, the Primerdesign test is stable at ambient temperatures, eliminating the need for cold chain shipping in tropical climates.

Novacyt CEO Graham Mullis said: “Over the last few days, we have seen significant early demand for our genesig 2019-nCoV test from over ten countries. We believe our assay is the first European test to be made available and will be introduced this weekend at the Medlab Expo in the Middle East.

“Our rapid response to this latest virus outbreak is a testament to our core competency of in-vitro diagnostic design, development, manufacturing and commercialisation.”

Designed to run on multiple molecular testing platforms, including Primerdesign’s own genesig q16 and q32 instrument, the test is for use in large, as well as small laboratories.

It can also generate a result in less time, facilitating the quick screening of samples, which could help stop the spread of the virus unnecessarily.

Chinese authorities identified a new strain of the coronavirus named 2019-nCoV earlier this month. The outbreak, which started in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has also spread to other countries.

Following the virus outbreak, China and other countries have imposed significant containment controls and people movement restrictions.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the 2019-nCoV outbreak a global emergency as it continues to spread outside of China.