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May 24, 2021
Seegene Inc. (KQ 096530), a biotechnology firm specializing in molecular diagnostics has once again been recognized for its unique system for diagnosing COVID-19 variants at this year’s European Congress of Clinical Microbiology, the ECCMID.
Seegene’s Dr. Guy Willem Lee, Director of Marketing Strategy introduced the diagnostic system under the theme of “SARS-CoV-2 and Variants ‘Full Screening’ Solution” using its latest COVID-19 variant diagnostic tests. “The backdrop of Korea’s outstanding control at the onset of the pandemic is because of the one-platform diagnostic system that enables mass testing,” said Lee. He added that “the system enabled the diagnostic process from sample collection through PCR testing all at once, helping local authorities to quickly control the pandemic.”
The effectiveness of the current diagnostic system, however had been put to question due to a growing number of COVID-19 variants spreading fast, with reports saying vaccines may not offer enough protection against them. The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention have previously said variants are poised to drive an increase in new cases in the U.S. in May after having projected that the global COVID-19 cases will sharply increase over the continuous surge in variants.
Referring to Seegene’s ‘Full Screening Solution,’ Director Lee proposed that the system will efficiently help counter the protracted COVID-19 pandemic. The ‘Full Screening Solution’ is a one-step system that can verify whether an individual has contracted coronavirus wildtype or the virus variant with a single real-time PCR test. Currently, health authorities are forced to go through an extra round of genomic sequencing to distinguish the existence of COVID-19 variants after standard PCR tests, automatically leading to a more prolonged testing time.
Against the backdrop of Seegene’s ‘Full Screening Solution’ are the company’s latest variant diagnostic tests, the AllplexTM SARS-CoV-2 Master Assay and AllplexTM SARS-CoV-2 Variants I Assay. The AllplexTM SARS-CoV-2 Master is an ideal way of screening for the COVID-19, as it provides results of whether a person is positive of the COVID-19 or even its variants. After an initial round of testing, Seegene’s AllplexTM SARS-CoV-2 Variants I Assay will help identify multiple mutant variations in a single reaction.
The AllplexTM SARS-CoV-2 Master Assay can detect a total of 10 targets including four coronavirus genes (E gene, RdRP gene, N gene and S gene) as well as five defined virus variants notably spotted in the most recognized lineages including B1.1.7, B.1.351, P.1 and B.1.1.207. Seegene’s variant diagnostic test is the first such kind to simultaneously detect multiple coronavirus genes and differentiate virus variations, including those found to be more contagious and fatal. It’s an ideal and an economic way of screening coronavirus genes as the pandemic continues to rage with both the wildtype and its virus variants. Director Lee added “Seegene’s ‘Full Screening Solution’ will play a critical role in controlling the spread of COVID-19 pandemic amid fast spreading virus variants.”
Also at this year’s world scientific symposia, Dr. Nakmoon Sung of Seegene Medical Foundation announced outcomes of clinical researches on the detection of SARS-CoV-2 mutations, known to be associated with the variants, as well as the detection of coinfections with respiratory pathogens among COVID-19 patients. Among the COVID-19 positive cases, the proportion of SARS-CoV-2 with the COVID-19 variant associated mutations have surged to 3.5% in late February from the 1.2% a month earlier. Such clinical researches show that Seegene’s diagnostic tests are capable of screening COVID-19 and screen for variants with single PCR test. Looking at the coinfection cases, 8.8% of COVID-19 positive cases have also been coinfected with respiratory diseases including Flu A, RSV, rhinovirus, metapneumovirus and Mycoplasma pneumoniae.
Reflecting on the clinical data, Dr. Sung said “swift diagnostic system is extremely critical in helping to control the resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic,” and added that “the one-step and accurate diagnostics will become the global standard in detecting coronavirus and other respiratory diseases, for the purpose of accurate treatment”
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