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New Molecular Clamping Technology Rapidly Detects Raging New SARS-CoV-2 Variants

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 23 Apr 2021
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A new molecular clamping technology that rapidly detects raging new SARS-CoV-2 variants has demonstrated enhanced sensitivity and specificity in a new study.

The findings demonstrated enhanced sensitivity and specificity using DiaCarta Inc.’s (Richmond, CA, USA) proprietary XNA-based molecular clamping technology that uses innovative synthetic Xenonucleic acid molecular oligomers (XNA) which hybridize with target wild-type DNA sequences, acting as molecular clamps, to enable the accurate amplification of mutant sequences only, using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reactions (qPCR).

In the study, a total of 278 previously tested SARS-CoV-2 positive samples, originating primarily from the San Francisco Bay Area, were analyzed. The SARS-CoV-2 Spike-gene D614G mutation was detected in 58 of the 139 samples collected in January 2021 (41.7%) and in 78 of the 139 samples collected in February (56.1%). Notably, while the N501Y mutation was not detected in the samples from January, seven of the February samples tested positive for both the N501Y and D614G mutations. The results suggest a relatively recent and rampant spreading of the UK variant (B.1.1.7) in Northern California. The new molecular clamping technology is highly sensitive and specific and can accelerate large scale testing for SARS-CoV-2 variants to fight the global pandemic.

"Next generation sequencing (NGS) has been the standard method of detection for SARS-CoV-2 variants. However, the NGS-based assays are expensive, time consuming and not widely available, thereby limiting their utility in large scale surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 variants," said Michael Sha, Ph.D., Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of R&D at DiaCarta Inc. "There has been an urgent need for testing platforms that can detect these variants rapidly and cost-effectively. This study demonstrates that DiaCarta's XNA technology can do both - accurately detect known and emerging SARS-CoV-2 mutations and provide a rapid, cost-effective solution for SARS-CoV-2 variant surveillance."

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