The researchers at TestGene have developed the "SARS-CoV-2-OMICRON" test system based on one-step reverse transcription and PCR technology, using which laboratories and diagnostic centers will be able to carry out differential diagnostics of the coronavirus infection. The new test system not only detects COVID-19 but determines which strain caused the infection. The analysis is performed within 1.5-2 hours. Earlier, TestGene released a test system for detection of the coronavirus infection without RNA isolation capable of recognizing various strains of COVID-19, including Delta, Omicron and the original Wuhan strain without their differentiation.

The developers of the system, Denis Viktorov, Candidate of Biological Sciences, Scientific Director at TestGene and Aleksey Solovev, Candidate of Biological Sciences, Associate Professor, Deputy Head of the R&D Department said that the work of the kit is based on reverse transcription technology (when the virus RNA is transcribed to complementary DNA) and subsequent polymerase chain reaction (to detect the presence or absence of the necessary nucleic acid fragments). These steps take place in one test tube, so no DNA transfer is required after reverse transcription in PCR. The new test system uses 2 targets in the coronavirus genome: one of them is common to all the currently known strains, which allows for rapid screening for the COVID-19 infection. The second target allows for further differentiation of the Omicron variant.

The product is at the stage of technical and clinical trials.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Omicron spreads ten times faster than its predecessor, the Delta strain. The reason is that in the upper respiratory tract, where the virus initially enters, Omicron multiplies 70 times faster than Delta and, subsequently, infects other people much easier. Those who have already had COVID-19 and vaccinated people can be infected with Omicron. The symptoms range from fatigue to headaches and body aches.
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