Jong-Yoon Chun, PhD, CEO of Seegene, says the initiative is designed to help people safely return to normalcy and contribute to global efforts to terminate COVID-19 and prevent future outbreaks.
There have been reports of an uptick in influenza and everyday colds which had been absent during the two-year pandemic, as countries worldwide ease social distancing restrictions and lift mask mandates. Experts have also warned that potentially dangerous mutations could go unnoticed due to scaled down PCR testing with governments no longer providing them for free. Individuals are now required to monitor their health at their own expense to stay safe.
Seegene’s initiative, dubbed “In-life PCR,” entails asymptomatic testing for early virus detection; syndromic respiratory testing as anti-virus restrictions are eased; and boosting PCR test accessibility through affordable pricing.
- Preemptive asymptomatic testing. PCR tests can identify infected people with mild or even no symptoms. A study by the U.S. CDC found that asymptomatic or presymptomatic individuals are responsible for around 60% of all COVID-19 transmission. Regular asymptomatic testing, even without doctor’s prescription, is expected to help curb widespread infections at community facilities, such as schools, churches, or nursing homes and ensure safe return to normal life.
- Syndromic respiratory testing. Syndromic testing is crucial for determining which virus is responsible for a person’s symptoms and what treatment makes sense. Seegene will provide Allplex SARS-CoV-2 FluA/FluB/RSV Assay, which can simultaneously detect SARS-CoV-2 (via the N, RdRP and S gene), influenza A and B, and RSV (A/B). The WHO recommends the screening of at least two target genes for SARS-CoV-2. Seegene’s assay identifies three to maintain detection accuracy if new COVID-19 variants emerge. The six-target assay also includes two internal controls for added accuracy.
- Increased PCR test accessibility and affordability. PCR testing has generally been acknowledged as very expensive. Seegene will work with hospitals and labs so that a test can cost around $12 to boost accessibility and encourage routine testing. High multiplex technologies that build upon the company’s over 20 years of expertise in molecular diagnostics have enabled Seegene to lower the barrier to access.
“The ‘$12 PCR testing’ campaign is expected to help Seegene deliver its commitment to making molecular diagnostics accessible to anyone,” says Chun. “I’m certain that routine PCR testing will be the best solution to help end the COVID-19 pandemic. Seegene will provide full support for cities or countries that join hands with us to better track and curb the outbreak.”