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Thermo Fisher Launches Ion AmpliSeq SARS-CoV-2 Insight Research Assay for SARS-CoV-2 Surveillance

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 08 Jun 2021
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Image: Ion AmpliSeq SARS-CoV-2 Insight Research Assay (Photo courtesy of Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.)
Image: Ion AmpliSeq SARS-CoV-2 Insight Research Assay (Photo courtesy of Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.)
Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (Waltham, MA, USA) has launched the Ion AmpliSeq SARS-CoV-2 Insight Research Assay to improve SARS-CoV-2 surveillance.

The assay is designed to enable early identification of new and known variants from samples that have lower viral loads. By sequencing more than 99% of the SARS-CoV-2 genome, the assay covers all potential serotypes. The new Ion AmpliSeq SARS-CoV-2 Insight Research Assay broadens and improves local, regional and national surveillance efforts to discover emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants through highly sensitive next-generation sequencing (NGS). Combined with Thermo Fisher's NGS technology, the panel enables researchers to obtain epidemiological insights with rapid turn-around time, workflow automation and seamless informatics and data uploading to public SARS-CoV-2 data repositories.

Optimized to run on the Ion GeneStudio S5 System, the assay includes 237 amplicons specific to SARS-CoV-2, with the addition of variant-tolerant primers for emerging variants. The increased sensitivity of this assay will empower researchers to sequence the complete genome and discover new variants from a variety of sample types including nasophyrengeal and shallow nasal swabs, saliva and others, and with cycle threshold (Ct) values higher than 28, or as low as 50 viral copies. To further expedite NGS analysis of SARS-CoV-2 and to help meet growing customer demand, Thermo Fisher has begun optimizing the Ion AmpliSeq SARS-CoV-2 Insight Research Assay for the Ion Torrent Genexus System. Launched in November 2019, the company's newest sequencing platform automates the entire targeted NGS workflow and can deliver specimen to report economically in just one day. Optimization and validation of the research assay on the Genexus System is now underway in collaboration with Thermo Fisher customers.

"RNA viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 mutate at high rates in response to selective environmental pressures, requiring labs and vaccine developers to monitor mutations diligently," said Andy Felton, vice president of clinical next generation sequencing at Thermo Fisher. "Higher sensitivity next-generation sequencing assays are needed to identify mutations earlier in both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals to help public health officials and labs globally track the spread of new and known variants for public health decisions and guidance locally."


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