Vela Diagnostics has announced the addition of two assays, ViroKey SQ FLEX SARS-CoV-2 Genotyping Assay and ViroKey SARS-CoV-2 ID RT-PCR Test, to its Covid-19 portfolio offering.

Using next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology, the genotyping assay sequences the whole SARS-CoV-2 genome, and accompanying Sentosa SQ Reporter software identifies mutations and categories them by lineage.

This process helps in the research and interpretation of the molecular epidemiology of Covid-19.

To increase the effectiveness / sensitivity of molecular diagnostics, serological assays, vaccine design, and anti-viral therapy, whole-genome sequencing is necessary. It also helps in studying routes of transmission and outbreak clusters, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

Vela Diagnostics managing director Andreas Goertz said: “We offer a highly automated workflow, which requires less than two hours of hands-on time from sample to report generation.

“With this ease-of-use, laboratories can very quickly adopt an NGS solution that would become an important tool in this pandemic situation.”

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The ViroKey SARS-CoV-2 ID RT-PCR Test (RUO) can potentially detect variants such as B.1.1.7 (UK), B.1.351 (South Africa), and P.1 (Brazil) lineages in the positive samples rapidly.

Vela Diagnostics Business Development director Scott Cassidy said: “With emerging variants like the recent B.1.526 from New York that may weaken vaccine effectiveness, the need for mutation identification becomes clear.

“We are now able to offer options for quick detection of known variants of concerns, and all future variants for better pandemic management.”

The company noted that the variant identification test can be used, along with the ViroKey SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR Test v2.0, which has obtained the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) emergency use authorisation (EUA), CE-IVD, and TGA approval, and HSA provisional authorisation.

Using the automated Sentosa platform, Vela’s test solutions offer a distinctive ability to leverage a single system for NGS and PCR testing in infectious disease and oncology.