Thermo Fisher Scientific has confirmed that its TaqPath Covid-19 test kits can accurately detect the new emerging Covid-19 variant, Omicron (B.1.1.529).

The company said that its polymerase chain reaction (PCR) TaqPath Covid-19 Combo Kit and TaqPath Covid-19 CE-IVD RT-PCR Kit are not impacted by the emerging variant and can detect SARS-CoV-2 in samples with the Omicron variant of the virus.

The announcement comes after the World Health Organisation (WHO) classified the Omicron variant as a ‘variant of concern’ and indicated that it may spread more quickly compared to other variants.

The TaqPath Covid-19 assays identify three gene targets from the orf1a/b, S and N regions of the virus to confirm SARS-CoV-2 infections.

The assays can still provide accurate results if one of the gene targets is impacted by a mutation, the company said.

Thermo Fisher has also developed TaqPath Covid-19 2.0 tests with advanced assay designs to help in detecting emerging mutations of the virus.

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The new tests can identify SARS-CoV-2 virus presence in the sample by using eight gene targets across the orf1a/b and N regions.

Thermo Fisher Scientific executive vice-president and chief operating officer Mark Stevenson said: “Like all viruses, we have always known that SARS-CoV-2 would continue to mutate and that effective testing strategies are a key to curbing the pandemic.

“That is why we developed assays with additional built-in checks and balances, to ensure that clinicians, researchers and public health officials would have effective tools to accurately test for Covid-19 even as the genetic makeup of the virus evolved.”

Furthermore, the company has also evaluated the new assays against sequences in the GISAID public database and confirmed that the tests can identify all B.1.1.529 mutations.

In a separate development, PerkinElmer has also confirmed that its RT-PCR assays can detect the new Omicron variant.

Last month, Thermo Fisher Scientific reported a 9% increase in total revenue in the third quarter of the year.