BioReference Laboratories, Inc., an OPKO Health company, has announced that it is prepared for COVID-19 testing of the Omicron Variant. BioReference’s PCR diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2 COVID-19 are based on recognizing specific RNA target genes that are common to all coronaviruses. 

To date, the diagnostic targets for COVID-19 testing of the Omicron variant have not changed. The changes seem to be occurring within the Spike (S)-gene responsible for the spike protein and other genes unrelated to the diagnostic targets used for making the diagnosis. The Spike protein is responsible for attaching the virus to human cells via the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor binding protein. It is predominantly the structure of the S-gene protein that has been changing with the different variants. These changes do not interfere with the high throughput RT/PCR assays as these tests all have multiple genomic targets. 

“The emergence of the Omicron Variant should have no impact on our ability to diagnose the presence of COVID-19 with our lab based PCR platforms and point of care/rapid devices,” said Jon R. Cohen, M.D., Executive Chairman of BioReference Laboratories. “We are committed to maintaining our existing testing capacity and increasing that capacity to mid-pandemic levels as the need arises.”

BioReference has four laboratory-based PCR testing facilities including Elmwood Park, NJ; Melbourne, Fla; Houston, Texas; and Burbank, Calif. In addition, BioReference has more than 200 of rapid, Point-of-Care COVID-19 testing locations around the country. BioReference has performed over 19 million PCR tests and more 1 million point-of-care tests since the pandemic began. 

For more information related to BioReference’s COVID-19 testing, please visit Bioreference Laboratories