South Korean molecular diagnostics company Seegene unveiled a new series of diagnostic tests that aims to detect the ever-changing COVID-19 variant landscape.

The Novaplex SARS-CoV-2 Variants VII assay addresses Omicron and its stealth version, as well as other variants. Seegene believes the new PCR test will be effective in helping governments and health authorities to fight current variants.

In a single tube, the new RT-PCR test targets a total of five analytes including the RdRP gene, which confirms positive COVID-19 cases, and three key Omicron S-gene mutations: E484A, N501Y, HV69/70 deletion. The test also targets Endo IC, which serves as a control to verify specimen validity.

The assay was validated using variable nucleic acid of COVID-19 samples including Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Omicron cases.

This latest test can differentiate between the Omicron variant and its “stealth” version. The newly emerging stealth version lacks certain features (HV69/70 deletion) that are being targeted by other PCR tests to identify the Omicron variant. 

“Our scientists diligently monitor the spread and evolution of SARS-CoV-2 in all corners of the world, so we can respond as quickly and effectively as possible with timely diagnostic tests,” says Jong-Yoon Chun, PhD, Seegene CEO. “We’re still learning about Omicron, but all signs point to this variant being even more transmissible than Delta. That’s why we moved so quickly, using our AI based development system to design and develop with high accuracy. We are ready for any upcoming variant challenges.”

Seegene is able to rapidly develop new tests ahead of emerging variants using the company’s big data auto-surveillance in silico system. This monitoring has enabled the company to create tests that screen the majority of virus variants that have been discovered globally, using Seegene’s existing COVID-19 assays.

Read more about Seegene’s latest PCR Test.