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26th January 2021  Product update: rapidmicrobiology staff writer

Detect SARS-CoV-2 UK Variant on Same Run As Normal COVID-19 qPCR Test

Genetic PCR Solutions™ (GPS ™), has developed a qPCR reagent kit for the specific detection of the new B.1.1.7 strain described and recently published in the UK. 

According to scientists from the "COVID-19 Genomics Consortium UK" (CoG-UK), the new phylogenetic cluster has expanded rapidly in several British locations in the last 4 weeks and has jumped to other countries in Europe.

Its genome presents an unusually high number of genetic changes (mutations), particularly affecting the spike protein, which seem to increase its propagation capacity compared to the other SARS-CoV2 strains.

Some mutations had been previously characterized, but not all of them simultaneously as in this case. This lineage's rapid growth indicates the need to improve its epidemiological and specific genomic surveillance throughout the world.

The GPS ™ team has analyzed hundreds of genomes of this new B.1.1.7 lineage and verified that their new qPCR kit, developed in January 2021, can detect this variant.

However, it was necessary to provide a test that identifies only this variant to distinguish it from the rest and thus have a useful tool for epidemiological surveillance of B.1.1.7.

"Based on unique mutations, specific for this phylogenetic line, we have designed a set of qPCR reagents that only detect this new strain," says Dr Martínez-Murcia. 

This qPCR can be used on the same patient sample and assayed at the same time as the usual qPCR test, "thus making it easy and fast to monitor a lineage that appears to have learned to infect more frequently."

The identification of this variant is currently made by sequencing, a complex, slow method, and for which very little infrastructure is available.

However, this new qPCR kit will allow us to know the spread of this variant much faster, simpler, and inexpensive. The kit has been internally validated with B.1.1.7 genomes and with clinical samples showing totally satisfactory results, which has allowed its immediate commercialization. The kit has already been sent to various centres in Spain and other European countries.

Click here to download the validation report.



Date Published: 26th January 2021

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Note: This content has been edited by a rapidmicrobiology staff writer for style and content.

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