Pharma Focus Asia

Roche Launches COVID-19 PCR Test for Omicron Sub-Variant

Friday, January 27, 2023

Roche and its subsidiary TIB Molbiol developed a COVID-19 PCR test for researchers to detect and differentiate the latest variant of concern, XBB.1.5. The XBB.1.5 variant is prevalent in the United States and is quickly spreading to other countries. Being able to differentiate emerging variants and understand their similarities and mutations provides a basis for experts to make predictions about their spread and respond with appropriate treatment strategies.

XBB.1.5 is a sub-variant of a SARS-CoV-2 variant named XBB. That lineage is a recombinant of two descendants of the BA.2 lineage that began spiking in early 2022. BA.2 is also a sub-variant of Omicron.

The VirSNiP SARS-CoV-2 Spike F486P test is for research use only and it specifically targets the unique mutation F486P found within the XBB.1.5 Omicron sub-variant. Typical clinical samples are throat and nasopharyngeal swabs, sputum, saliva or gargle solution.

This new test for researchers specifically targets the XBB.1.5 Omicron sub-variant and runs on the real-time PCR platforms LightCycler® 480 II* and cobas® z480. Results from the test will help closely track the virus’ lineage and provide insights into the epidemiology and impact it has on public health.

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