15th February 2021 Product update: rapidmicrobiology staff writer
Slovenian Health Department Find UK Variant with New RT-PCR Test
MultiplexDX, in collaboration with academic scientists from the Biomedical Center of the Slovak Academy of Sciences and Comenius University, has developed an RT-qPCR to directly detect lineage B.1.1.7 (also known as the British or UK variant).
In recent days, these unique RT-qPCR tests have been used by the Slovenian government to verify the B.1.1.7 variant's occurrence.
Initial testing with MDX RT-qPCR tests revealed the B.1.1.7 variant is prevalent in 2% of Slovenians who tested positive for COVID-19 and were screened using our rTest COVID-19 B.1.1.7 kit. The results of this testing in Slovenia were announced on Thursday, January 27th by the Slovenian National Laboratory for Health, Environment and Nutrition.
"Cooperation with our Slovenian partners confirmed the accuracy and sensitivity of the tests, which has already been demonstrated in Slovakia while being used by the Biomedical Center of the Slovak Academy of Sciences to verify the occurrence of B.1.1.7," adds Pavol Čekan, CEO of MultiplexDX.
Based on this testing round, MDX is negotiating the delivery of further tests with the Slovenian National Laboratory for Health, Environment and Nutrition.
This unique RT-PCR test allows the test subject to identify SARS-CoV-2 itself and the new B.1.1.7 variant, which is raising global alarm due to its capability to spread in certain situations up to 70% faster.
The MDX test does not rely on a so-called spike gene target failure that can indirectly indicate the presence of the B.1.1.7 variant but can signify the presence of other variants that share similar mutations with the B.1.1.7 variant.
"Commonly available PCR tests cannot tell if it is a British variant. They only confirm SARS-CoV-2 infection and indirectly hint at the presence of B.1.1.7, which should then be confirmed by sequencing. To our knowledge, our test is the only one in the world that will positively confirm either the British variant or, simply put, the common coronavirus in the sample”, said P. Čekan,
Conventional RT-qPCR tests determine the occurrence of lineage B.1.1.7 (the British variant) based on a failed positive signal in an assay targeting the spike gene.
"However, such a strategy is not ideal, because the failure of this gene can have other causes, not only the occurrence of a British variant in the sample," points out P. Čekan.
Inaccurate results may adversely affect the implementation of epidemiological measures to prevent the spread of a more aggressive coronavirus variant.
Date Published: 15th February 2021
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Note: This content has been edited by a rapidmicrobiology staff writer for style and content.
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