New COVID-19 PCR Test Launched to Detect XBB.1.5 Omicron Sub-Variant

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The test, called VirSNiP SARS-CoV-2 Spike F486P, is for research use only and specifically targets the unique mutation F486P found within the XBB.1.5 Omicron sub-variant.

Roche has developed a new COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test that specifically targets the XBB.1.5 Omicron sub-variant and runs on the real-time PCR platforms LightCycler 480 II and cobas z480.

The test, called VirSNiP SARS-CoV-2 Spike F486P, is for research use only and 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.

Being able to test for and differentiate the new COVID-19 sub-variant will help experts make predictions about the spread and respond with appropriate treatment strategies. The XBB.1.5 variant, in particular, is prevalent in the United States and is quickly spreading throughout other countries, according to a press release.

“Roche continues to develop timely diagnostic innovations related to COVID-19 by providing valuable insights—helping scientists and physicians understand this new strain, how it differs from other variants, and the impact it may have on public health,” said Matt Sause, MBA, CEO of Roche Diagnostics, in the press release.

XBB.1.5 is a sub-variant of the Omicron variant, which is a recombinant of 2 descendants of the BA.2 lineage that began spiking in early 2022. BA.2 is also a sub-variant of Omicron. The spike protein of XBB.1.5 is a group of mutations that boost the variant’s ability to evade antibodies.

REFERENCE

Roche launches COVID-19 PCR test to detect the fast-spreading XBB.1.5 Omicron sub-variant. News release. Roche; January 26, 2023. Accessed January 30, 2023. https://www.roche.com/media/releases/med-cor-2023-01-26

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