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December 1, 2021

Seegene confirms PCR-based test capable of detecting Omicron variant

The test enables simultaneous identification of wild-type coronavirus and the Omicron variant in a single test tube.

South Korean molecular diagnostics company Seegene has confirmed that its Allplex SARS-CoV-2 Master Assay can detect the new Covid-19 variant, Omicron.

The PCR test identifies four wild-type SARS-CoV-2 genes (E gene, RdRP gene, N gene and S gene) and five notable S-gene mutations. This enables simultaneous identification of wild-type coronavirus and the Omicron variant in a single test tube.

According to a company statement, the Allplex SARS-CoV-2 Master Assay offers results in four hours. Seegene added that it will support other countries which need such tests to identify people infected with this variant and facilitate their isolation.

Seegene founder and CEO Dr Jong-Yoon Chun said: “In order to contain the further spread of Omicron, it is extremely important to pre-emptively detect the Omicron variant at the primary screening stage.

“To that end, we will fully support countries in need of our tests to enable more rapid detection of the latest variant.”

Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) designated Omicron (B.1.1.529) as a variant of concern (VOC) after it appeared to be more transmissible due to a large number of mutations.

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Separately, lateral flow rapid test producer JOYSBIO said that its test can also detect the Omicron variant.

The company said that its JOYSBIO SARS-COV-2 Antigen Rapid Test Kit can detect several SARS-COV-2 variants including B.1.1.7 (Alpha), B.1.351 (Beta), B.1.617.2 (Delta), P.1 (Gamma) and B.1.1.529 (Omicron).

The test can deliver results in 15 minutes.

Recently, Thermo Fisher Scientific has also claimed that its TaqPath Covid-19 test kits can accurately detect Omicron.

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