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Unique Patient Sample Transport Reagents Support Safer and More Reliable COVID Testing

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 22 Sep 2021
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A new range of products address a full spectrum of molecular and protein testing challenges made clear by the COVID-19 pandemic and the wildfire growth of the Delta variant.

Thomas Scientific (Swedesboro, NJ, USA) has partnered with Truckee Applied Genomics (TAG; Reno, NV, USA) to distribute its unique patient sample transport reagents. Thomas Scientific has been appointed as the sole distributor for the US and Puerto Rico of TAG regents. The agreement provides an expanded distribution channel to research, diagnostic, and manufacturing customers, including clients in molecular pathology, diagnostic kit development, and variant tracking research labs.

With COVID-19 spread increasing from the Delta variant, demand for rapid antigen protein tests has surged and the need for broader NGS-based variant surveillance has become clear. As the diversity of testing has grown, it has become imperative that resources be designed to accommodate changing needs, while maintaining lab worker safety. One key factor for testing flexibility is enabling patient samples to be sent to any available lab without costly and error-prone cold chain shipping. Another key factor is designing in better safety from collection through lab processing, by inactivating virus before transport. With the growth of non-inactivating antigen tests kits, there is a clear need to develop new kits with reagents that inactivate virus to support safer handling.

Without virus inactivation, lab workers processing antigen tests face safety risks from viral exposure. While toxic guanidine-based virus-killing inactivating transport media (ITM) can preserve nucleic acids and be shipped without a cold chain, they do not work for antigen tests as they can denature proteins and interfere with rapid antigen testing mechanisms. And, for all test types, guanidine-based ITMs have safety and handling concerns as they produce toxic cyanide gas when used with bleach washing steps found in molecular testing processes and platforms.

TAG-NPGM+ and TAG-NGPM patient sample collection reagents contain no guanidine, providing better choices. TAG-NPGM+ rapidly inactivates the virus while preserving both antigen proteins and viral nucleic acids. This means that a patient sample collected in TAG-NGPM+ for an antigen test, could also be sent for a positive verification by a gold-standard rt-PCR test, and banked for NextGen Sequencing (NGS) enabling broader population variant tracking. Research Use Only (RUO) TAG-NGPM+ is a truly universal virus inactivating (safe) collection media that works end-to-end for antigen, rt-PCR and NGS tests, and enables lab staff to safely dispose of samples with common lab bleach.

“TAG is delighted to have Thomas Scientific distribute our products because of their deep technical understanding of the challenges of molecular diagnostics,” said Tian Yu, PhD MBA, VP Product Development at Truckee Applied Genomics. “Along with Thomas Scientific, TAG is meeting the need to improve pandemic preparedness, testing safety, and accuracy, while enabling better and broader variant tracking. And beyond TAG-NGPM+, we are glad to be partnering with Thomas Scientific, to find high-potential new applications for the company's non-crosslinking tissue stabilization reagent TAG-1 for oncology researchers, biotech companies, and innovative research labs to improve liquid biopsy, spatial genomics/transcriptomics, and biomarker development.”

"TAG's sample transport products bring an innovative new chemistry much needed by our molecular diagnostics customers. We see great potential for TAG products to improve the safety and test performance of our clients' labs," added Chad Jenkins, Vice President Thomas Scientific Peak Bio Solutions.

Related Links:

Thomas Scientific
Truckee Applied Genomics

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