Omicron and variant memo draft for PCR lab based and rapid testing.
Brio has been intently monitoring the mutations of SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) to ensure that our partner laboratories PCR capabilities of detection are not hindered. Brio thoroughly evaluates key Covid-19 testing stress factors for all its partner laboratories; these factors include supply chain logistics, testing throughput, testing capacity, and diagnostic gene markers for testing.
We have already conducted an initial assessment of the Omicron variant, and we are confident that all our partner laboratories PCR testing nationwide are currently able to detect it, and all other identified variants. This is based on each of our partner laboratories utilizing multiple genes, or gene markers to effectively identify Covid-19. Currently all of Brio’s partner laboratories utilize various combinations of N, N1, N2, N3, ORF1, ORF1ab, ORF-1AV, E or S genes, along with standard control markers for each test. This ensures that variant mutations impacting specific genes are still detectable through other non-impeded SARS-CoV-2 gene markers.
Brio has an entire team of scientists dedicated to monitoring Covid-19 variants, and to date have carefully analyzed and assessed 63 variants. All of which have not impacted our offered laboratory-based PCR or rapid PCR and antigen based tests ability to detect the virus. In alignment with our review of the Delta variant, early data for the Omicron variant indicates that our offered rapid antigen and rapid PCR tests should be unaffected based on the analysis of the mutations in nucleocapsid of the Omicron virus. However, the full genome sequence of the Omicron variant is not yet available, once it is a full verification of our initial findings will be performed.
While the Brio offered lines of testing are not impacted by the current identified variants, it is not designed to differentiate between variants. In order to effectively identify the variant that an individual may have, full genome sequencing must be performed. Current public health tracking of variant spread is performed via coordinated sequencing in conjunction with epidemiological models based on specific variant characteristics and population spread. Covid-19 variants have fundamentally changed the trajectory of the pandemic nationwide. Now more than ever, testing remains a critical part of our response to the global pandemic. The top priority for Brio remains that testing is reliable and accessible for its current and future customers.