First COVID-19 test identifying variants developed in South Korea

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SEEGENE ROLLS OUT FIRST COVID-19 MUTANT IDENTIFICATION TEST
COVID-19 TEST MANUFACTURER CONTINUES TRACKING VARIANTS
S. KOREAN FIRM COMMITTED TO WORKING WITH GOVERNMENTS

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The world’s first COVID-19 diagnostic variant test, capable of screening COVID-19 and identifying multiple mutant variations in a single reaction was developed by a South Korean biotechnology company.

Seegene’s new variant test, the ‘Allplex™ SARS-CoV-2 Variants I Assay,’ can detect and differentiate virus variations, including those found to be more contagious and fatal.

The new variant test not only detects COVID-19, but can also identify major genetic variations that seem to have originated from the UK, South Africa as well as other regions including Japan and Brazil.

Furthermore, it can pre-screen a suspicious new variant, providing insight on additional variations, also a key feature of Seegene technology.

Seegene’s new product integrates at least ten of its proprietary technologies, including multiplex real-time PCR method of mTOCE™, which is the cutting-edge technology that only Seegene can leverage. This innovative technology allows the test to detect a target specific spot where mutation occurs, enabling precise detection and differentiation of the coronavirus as well as its mutated versions with a single tube of reagent.

Another key feature using Seegene’s unique technology is its endogenous internal control that can verify entire testing process including proper sample collection.  

By utilizing Seegene’s big data auto-surveillance in silico system, the company is closely monitoring and analyzing worldwide database on COVID-19 and its variants, allowing it to quickly respond with product development. 

Currently governments and health authorities around the world are forced to rely on individual sample sequencing, which is unsuitable to massive testing, to filter out virus variants from COVID-19 positive cases. An official from Seegene said its “new COVID-19 diagnostic variant test will significantly boost massive testing ability in its fight against the global-spread of mutant viruses when the time is key to controlling the pandemic.”

The current diagnostics relies on PCR test or rapid antigen/antibody test to diagnose COVID-19 infection or the existence of antibodies. But the current diagnostic methods have limitations in screening virus variants, putting the brakes on effective epidemic prevention. Only PCR method can screen and identify the variants, but doing that in a single tube of reagent had not been possible until Seegene’s new variant test.

According to the company official, Seegene plans “to supply its COVID-19 variant tests to global organizations and governments as its priority.”

The official added that the company will continue its work to “fulfill the duty as a leading global molecular diagnostics company by closely working with health authorities around the world.”

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