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Roche develops additional testing options to differentiate mutations in the Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant

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Three new testing kits are among the first to specify the mutations of the recently discovered Omicron variant, and can help manage the evolving COVID-19 pandemic

Roche and TIB Molbiol, a newly acquired subsidiary within the Roche Diagnostics division, have added three additional Research Use Only (RUO) test kits for the detection of mutations present in the novel B.1.1.529 Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant: VirSNip SARS Spike ins214EPE (RUO), VirSNiP SARS-CoV-2 Spike S371L S373P (RUO), VirSNip SARS Spike E484A (RUO).

The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified the recently emerged SARS-CoV-2 variant, Omicron (B.1.1.529), as a COVID-19 variant of concern (VOC).

The VirSNiP variant kits allow differentiation between unique mutations present within the Omicron variant compared to other SARS-CoV-2 variants and are for use on LightCycler® and cobas® z 480 analysers. Using a technology called qPCR (quantitative polymerase chain reaction) they can help researchers with improved variant detection and viral research, and are among the first to address the number of unique mutations of the Omicron variant.

Thomas Schinecker, CEO Roche Diagnostics said, “The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be an evolving and complex situation, and Roche is committed to responding to healthcare’s biggest challenges. The teams at TIB Molbiol have worked around the clock since the new variant emerged, and today we are able to offer a test that can specifically identify the novel B.1.1.529 Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant to help better understand its spread and behaviour. There is still much to learn about Omicron. It’s critical to identify Omicron quickly and accurately, which will help inform ongoing research – including the further development of therapeutics and vaccines – and potentially stop or slow down the advance of this new variant.”

The test kits have been developed by TIB Molbiol, with Roche announcing the legal completion of the purchase agreement of the Berlin-based company on 1 December 2021.

TIB Molbiol’s researchers work in collaboration with their academic contacts to continually screen for new variants and emerging diseases allowing a fast and effective response to emerging healthcare needs.

TIB Molbiol have broad range of VirSNiP variant kits for the detection of key spike protein mutations and now added three additional research use only (RUO) VirSNiP kits for the detection of mutations present in the novel B.1.1.529 Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant. They can be used for SARS-CoV-2 virus research as well as detecting mutations of SARS-CoV-2 variants. VirSNiP kits are for research use only, not for diagnostic procedures. The mutations in the Omicron variant do not affect the performance of the LightMix® Modular SARS-CoV-2 (COVID19) N-gene, E-gene, nor RdRP-gene kits. These kits are launched globally (excluding the USA).

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