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World’s First Assay Kit to Directly Profile SARS-CoV-2 Subgenomic RNA (sgRNA) from Clinical Samples Launched

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 07 Oct 2020
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Image: Lucence DeepMARK (Photo courtesy of Lucence)
Image: Lucence DeepMARK (Photo courtesy of Lucence)
Lucence (Singapore), a molecular diagnostics company, has launched the world’s first assay kit to directly profile SARS-CoV-2 subgenomic RNA (sgRNA), a marker of active viral replication, from clinical samples.

DeepMARK utilizes Lucence’s proprietary ultrasensitive next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology, AmpliMARK, to concurrently detect and analyze the genome and transcriptome of SARS-CoV-2. Pinpointing sources of unlinked SARS-CoV-2 cases supports rapid public health response. Using high-quality genetic fingerprinting, DeepMARK can enable rapid community case tracing by identifying transmission paths, clusters, and viral contagiousness. DeepMARK’s increased sensitivity also allows for asymptomatic and recovering cases to be more thoroughly evaluated for contagiousness.

For researchers studying contagiousness, SARS-CoV-2 sgRNA is a recognized marker of active viral replication linked with contagiousness and offers several advantages. While viral culture is the gold standard, it is slow, expensive, and requires a biosafety level 3 (BSL3) laboratory, requirements prohibitive for the vast majority of samples. Using DeepMARK, clinical samples can be safely and efficiently profiled using a simple workflow.

SgRNA as a marker of viral replication is also a well-recognized efficacy measurement in SARS-CoV-2 vaccine development3. Thus, comprehensive sgRNA profiling by DeepMARK could facilitate more efficient vaccine discovery. DeepMARK is part of Lucence’s suite of SARS-CoV-2 molecular diagnostics. Lucence also makes the SAFER Sample Kit, a saliva stabilization kit with reported 36% higher sensitivity for detecting COVID-19 compared to nasopharyngeal swabbing.

“Genetic fingerprinting enables quicker and deeper analysis of viral spread. This tool has enhanced our capacity to understand SARS-CoV-2 precisely and contributes to the ongoing fight against COVID-19.” said A/Prof Hsu Li Yang, Vice Dean, Global Health, Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore.

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