Roche and its subsidiary TIB Molbiol have developed a new Covid-19 PCR test for detecting and differentiating the new XBB.1.5 Omicron sub-variant.

The new test, dubbed VirSNiP SARS-CoV-2 Spike F486P, has been designed to specifically target the unique F486P mutation that is found in the XBB.1.5 Omicron sub-variant.

It runs on the cobas z480 and LightCycler 480 II real-time PCR platforms using throat and nasopharyngeal swabs, sputum, saliva, or gargle solution.

The research use-only test is intended to help researchers closely track the lineage of the virus and provide insights into the epidemiology as well as the impact it has on public health.

Roche stated that the ability to differentiate the emerging Covid-19 variants and understand their similarities and mutations helps to provide a basis for specialists to predict the virus spread and provide appropriate treatment.

Roche Diagnostics CEO Matt Sause said: “Roche continues to develop timely diagnostic innovations related to Covid-19 by providing valuable insights – helping scientists and physicians understand this new strain, how it differs from other variants, and the impact it may have on public health.

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“Since the start of this global health crisis, Roche has been committed to bringing effective diagnostic solutions to address unmet needs to healthcare communities worldwide.”

Roche’s new VirSNiP SARS-CoV-2 Spike F486P test adds to the company’s portfolio of Covid-19 test kits, which have been developed together with TIB Molbiol.

Last November, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency use authorization (EUA) for Roche’s monkeypox virus detection test, cobas MPXV, for use on the cobas 6800/8800 Systems.