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PCR Test Could Detect Genetic Mutations for New Coronavirus Strain

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 23 Dec 2020
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A new PCR test would allow researchers to identify certain mutations of a new coronavirus strain circulating in the UK.

Co-Diagnostics, Inc. (Salt Lake City, UT, USA) has completed principal design work for a PCR test that would allow researchers to identify certain mutations in a newly detected variant of SARS-CoV-2 known as VUI 202012/01. The new coronavirus strain comprises several mutations and may be more contagious than its predecessors.

CoPrimers is a leading-edge, patented platform technology developed by Co-Diagnostics that dramatically enhances the output of molecular diagnostic tests conducted via real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests. The unique, proprietary structure of CoPrimers molecules creates reactions that are far more specific than competing PCR technologies, to better identify the presence of and distinguish between viruses, pathogens, cancer, etc. One of the most important attributes of Co-Diagnostics’ CoPrimer technology is the virtual elimination of “primer-dimers,” the principal source of false positives in diagnostic testing. Primer-dimers are essentially the amplification of errors that can take place during the course of a molecular diagnostic test. These errors dramatically minimize the accuracy of the test and lead to false results and/or inaccurate diagnoses.

CoPrimers’ specificity also enables the identification of a broad spectrum of conditions in a single molecular diagnostic test procedure - known as Multiplexing - as opposed to conducting discrete individual procedures. Multiplexing enables a single test to identify numerous conditions, attributes, or genetic sequences simultaneously. Multiplexing has enormous implications on cost-efficiencies and time savings in molecular testing, which could prove substantial in a medical situation.

Co-Diagnostics’ CoPrimer technology is being employed in a number of research projects in the US. The technology was most recently in a research project conducted by the Wang Group at Stanford University. The purpose of the study is to develop more efficient methods to detect multiple genetic mutations in the EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) gene, including the most frequently occurring mutations in lung cancer, within a single reaction. The investigators have been conducting research into the subject using commercially available primers for several years, the results of which have previously been published, and are now utilizing CoPrimers to further improve comprehensive detection methods of mutations that are known to cause cancer.

"One of the most important advantages of our CoPrimer platform is its ability to reliably and accurately differentiate between similar genetic sequences, in order to reduce the likelihood of a false positive diagnosis," said Dwight Egan, CEO of Co-Diagnostics. "The multiplexing capabilities of our CoPrimer platform go hand-in-glove with the technology's applications in detecting small genetic variations in a given gene. As we have demonstrated earlier on during this pandemic, our technology also facilitates rapid test development that we believe could help get testing solutions on the ground quickly as impactful mutations are identified."

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Co-Diagnostics, Inc.


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