Home Health Omicron, a quick test that recognizes Covid variants: here is CovarScan

Omicron, a quick test that recognizes Covid variants: here is CovarScan

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Omicron, a quick test that recognizes Covid variants: here is CovarScan

Is called CovarScan and is able to recognize the variant of Covid that hit the patient. UT Southwestern experts, as reported by the well-known scientific journal Clinical Chemistry, have come up with a new one rapid test which, in a few hours, can reveal the coronavirus mutation that infected the subject, thus making clinical decisions easier and the ability to monitor the spread of new variants such as Omicron BA.5.

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CovarScan, what it is and how it works

“Using this test, we can very quickly determine which variants are present in the community and if a new variant is emerging,” explains Jeffrey SoRelle who validated the test on over 4,000 samples of individuals. “It also has implications for individual patients when it comes to variants that respond differently to treatments.” There are several other tests for COVID-19, but they typically don’t provide information to identify the variant. To understand this, scientists typically have to resort to whole genome sequencing, a time-consuming and expensive operation that takes a few days. CoVarScan focuses on eight regions of the SARS-CoV-2 genome that differ between viral variants. It detects small mutations – in which the sequence of RNA blocks varies – and measures the length of certain genetic regions that tend to grow or contract with the evolution of the virus.

Efficacy and sequencing

To verify the effectiveness of CoVarScan SoRelle tested over 4,000 COVID-19 positive nasal swab samples collected between April 2021 and February 2022. The tests were validated with whole genome sequencing, the gold standard. CoVarScan has identified and differentiated the Delta, Mu, Lambda and Omicron variants of COVID-19, including the BA.2 version of Omicron. “A common criticism of this type of testing is that it requires constant adjustment for new variants, but the CoVarScan hasn’t needed any adjustments in over a year and continues to perform very well,” SoRelle explains. “In the future, if we needed to fix it, we could easily add another 20 or 30 hotspots (points in the genome that are sensitive to virus evolution) to the test.”

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