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New technology to detect Omicron variant in Korea

Seoul Researchers from Korea have developed Molecular Diagnostic Technology for the identification of Omicron variants . It is being claimed that within 20 minutes it will be known whether the person is infected with the Omicron variant of the virus or not. This research has been completed recently, although it may take time to reach worldwide. POSTECH announced on the 10th that a research team led by Professor Lee Jung-wook from the Department of Chemical Engineering has developed a molecular diagnostic technology that can detect Omicron variants in just 20-30 minutes and the results will be released online. .

According to the research team, molecular diagnostic technology can isolate mutations on a single-nucleotide basis, so it can detect ‘stealth oomicrons’ that are difficult to detect via RT-PCR. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Korea is currently using three methods to detect COVID-19 variants: full genome sequencing, target DNA (spike protein-like mutations) analysis and RT-PCR testing.

How does this technology work?
In the case of the delta variant, it can be detected by RT-PCR test, but this is not effective in Omicron. This time the newly developed technology is not the process of sequencing DNA or RNA but molecular diagnostic technology. Current technology detects only a small number of viruses, but molecular diagnostic technology is designed to determine the cause of the nucleic acid-binding response so that it can be quickly detected when COVID-19 RNA is present.

According to Professor Lee, the RT-PCR test can detect the N gene near Omicron, but it is weak in the region of the N gene. In the case of the ‘stealth omicron’, both the N and S genes were found to be positive, making it difficult to differentiate from other types. Molecular Diagnostic Technology successfully detects Omicron while working separately from RT-PCR.

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