COVID-19 Diagnostic Market: New Test Capable of Identifying the Exact Variant

Posted On May 26, 2022     

The SARS-CoV-2 virus and the effects of the pandemic haven't completely subsided yet. The world urgently requires a global surveillance system for the inevitable future strains that might be even more contagious or lethal.

A research group has devised a PCR test that employs molecular beacons to diagnose COVID-19 infection. Further, the novel assay also identifies the exact variant causing that illness. The test may boost the demand for COVID-19 Diagnostic. Knowing that a highly contagious and hazardous strain has emerged in a local population may prompt officials to implement safety measures to minimize spread. Understanding which strain has infected a person can also assist determine which therapies are most effective.

It is remarkable to see that SARS-CoV-2 was not a monolithic infection with a known set of clinical traits. Rather it's an ever-evolving disease with unique clinical aspects that impact tests, symptoms, and even which organ systems can be attacked. Identifying individual strains gives vital information such as incubation period, infectious period, transmissibility, pathogenicity, and even variations in the prominent symptoms.

Researchers designed the Rutgers-RP RT-PCR test to detect mutations in SARS-CoV-2. One that has been demonstrated to improve immune flight, prevent neutralization, and increase transmissibility. This was done via real-time PCR probes designed and previously used around the world for many applications. The study is the first to employ molecular beacons to detect specific genetic alterations. Molecular beacons refers to hairpin-shaped molecules that can be programmed to connect to a specific mutant sequence while avoiding wild-type sequences that frequently differ by a single nucleotide.

The technologies created to track and identify novel variants will be beneficial for this pandemic as well as any future viruses or infections that may emerge.

According to the researchers, the test is also incredibly customizable. When omicron first appeared, the researchers were able to develop a beacon in less than a month to discover a mutation-specific to omicron and necessary for immune evasion.

Right now, the Rutgers-RP RT-PCR variant assay might be extensively used in laboratories all over the world to monitor all known variants of concern. The test will be updated with new primer/probe sets for each significant variant that emerges.

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